Behold the Dreamers

Behold the Dreamers

by

Imbolo Mbue

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Behold the Dreamers: Chapter 49 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
When Jende walks out of the doctor’s office, he decides that it’s time to go back home. That night, after work, he tells Neni that he doesn’t want to remain in the United States. Neni stares at him, wanting to feel sympathy but only feeling irritation. He talks about how tired he is of working all the time for so little money. He says that, even if he were to get documents, they wouldn’t be enough. Citizens are struggling, too, and he doesn’t expect that he’ll get a better job with no education.
Jende’s visit to the doctor “cures” him of his boundless faith that he can make it in America with only faith and hard work. Now that their positions have reversed and it’s Jende who has embraced the reality of their situation, Neni is upset. For her, things have been improving, which gives her greater will to stay and fight.
Themes
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
The Modern Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Related Quotes
Neni suggests that they can move to Phoenix, but Jende says that the department store where Arkamo was working closed down, and he found out two days later that he lost his house. He’s now living in his sister’s basement. Neni suggests that they stay in New York. Maybe he can find another chauffeuring job, but Jende insists that it isn’t easy to find a job like that, and he only got lucky with Clark Edwards because Frank Dawson likes Winston and trusted him to recommend a good driver for his friend.
Neni’s alternative overlooks the fact that the effects of the financial crisis are present nationwide, and that things are, in fact, worse in Phoenix. Many houses, including Arkamo’s, were foreclosed upon, due to the collapse of a housing boom that was built around subprime mortgage loans.
Themes
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
Jende tells Neni that much of what happened to get them to America happened because of Winston, who’s offered to pay the rest of Bubakar’s fees, allowing them to keep the money that they saved. However, they can no longer rely on Winston, who will soon have a child. His sisters will finish at Buea University next year; then, he’ll then bring them over. He tells her about another driver he knows, a white man, who looks as though he hasn’t had a proper meal in a long time and can’t find another job as a chauffeur. Everyone is losing their jobs everywhere and taking anything to pay the bills. Jende refuses to suffer like this just to live in America.
Jende lays out the case of why it’s impossible for them to remain in New York. He reveals the extent of how dependent they’ve been on Winston and how that cannot last, given that he’s starting his own family and will want to help his sisters, whose American Dreams are more feasible than Jende and Neni’s, due to their educations. To further drive the point home, he emphasizes how even white people, who are usually more advantaged in the U.S., are in dire straits.
Themes
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
The Modern Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Related Quotes