Behold the Dreamers

Behold the Dreamers

by

Imbolo Mbue

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A close friend of Neni’s who works as a certified nursing assistant at nursing homes and has been enrolled in nursing school for more than seven years. She has been in the U.S. since 1978, when she arrived with her parents. She got her first immigration documents through them and has been a citizen for over a decade. The only description of Betty’s physical appearance is that “her gap tooth divided her mouth into two equally beautiful halves.” In terms of character, Betty is determined, independent, and tireless in her will to succeed in America. She is married to a man named Alphonse and has an American cousin whom she encourages Neni to marry for a green card.

Betty Quotes in Behold the Dreamers

The Behold the Dreamers quotes below are all either spoken by Betty or refer to Betty. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin edition of Behold the Dreamers published in 2016.
Chapter 14 Quotes

Winston had friends of all races, she knew, but she had no idea he had so many white friends […] It was one thing to be in the same class with them, work for them, smile at them on the bus; it was a whole other thing to laugh and chat with them for hours, making sure she enunciated every word so they wouldn't say her accent was too difficult to understand. No way could she spend time with a white woman and be herself the way she was with Betty or Fatou […] And the people in the bar […] they were mostly associates at the firm where Winston worked, so she had to be careful not to embarrass him. Nothing shamed her more than black people embarrassing themselves in front of white people by behaving the way white people expect them to behave.

Related Characters: Neni Jonga, Winston Avera, Fatou, Betty
Page Number: 90-91
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 50 Quotes

Later, as she stood in front of the mirror staring at her face before applying her exfoliating mask, she promised herself she would fight Jende till the end. She had to. It wasn’t only that she loved New York City […] It wasn’t just because she was hopeful that she would one day become a pharmacist […] It was hardly only about […] things she could never find in her hometown, things like horse-drawn carriages on city streets, and gigantic lighted Christmas trees in squares and plazas, and pretty parks where musicians played for free beside polychromatic foliage […] It was mostly for what her children would be deprived of […] It was for the boundless opportunities they would be denied […] She was going to fight for her children, and for herself, because no one journeyed far away from home to return without a fortune amassed or dream achieved.

Related Characters: Jende Jonga, Neni Jonga, Liomi Jonga, Betty
Page Number: 316
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Behold the Dreamers LitChart as a printable PDF.
Behold the Dreamers PDF

Betty Character Timeline in Behold the Dreamers

The timeline below shows where the character Betty appears in Behold the Dreamers. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 14
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
...cool air but averts her eyes from the sight of Roosevelt Hospital where her friend Betty delivered a stillborn baby a year ago. (full context)
Chapter 18
The Modern Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
...she insists on doing something. Neni hangs up on their call and phones her friend, Betty, who tells her that Cindy’s probably on drugs. Neni doesn’t believe it, but Betty insists... (full context)
Chapter 22
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
Neni returns from the Hamptons and tells Betty about Cindy being a product of rape, to which Betty responds that it’s now no... (full context)
Chapter 44
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
The Modern Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
...with Jende’s immigration case. Neni says that they’re still waiting and hoping, but her friend, Betty, offers her the possibility of divorcing Jende for a few years, marrying Betty’s cousin, and... (full context)
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
The Modern Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
...can reunite with her family. Neni doesn’t think that this will happen to her, though; Betty’s cousin is a nice man. (full context)
Chapter 50
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
...she must stand behind her husband and not say no to him. Two days later, Betty tells Neni to tell Jende that she’s not going. She says that Neni will regret... (full context)
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
The Modern Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
...scoffs at her for caring what others think and then leaves for work. Neni calls Betty who reminds Neni about the idea of divorcing Jende temporarily and marrying for a green... (full context)
Chapter 51
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
The Modern Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
While Jende brushes his teeth, Neni mentions Betty’s cousin, who can help with get them papers if they pay him with the money... (full context)
Chapter 59
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
Betty hosts a farewell party for the Jongas in the Bronx. Everyone comes with something to... (full context)
Chapter 61
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
...is empty, except for their luggage in a corner of the bedroom. Neni has given Betty, Fatou, Winston, and Maami her household items. She gave Natasha her unworn kabas. The new... (full context)