Behold the Dreamers

Behold the Dreamers

by

Imbolo Mbue

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Cindy Edwards Character Analysis

Clark Edwards’s wife and the mother of Vince and Mighty. The fifty-year-old Cindy is described as blond, slim, and very attractive, with Jende noting that she strongly resembles the actress Annette Bening. Jende spends the day driving her to and from beauty appointments and lunch dates with her friends. It’s suggested that she works occasionally as a nutritionist for models and actresses. She is also a high-strung, anorexic, and paranoid woman who is determined to keep her family together in an effort to make up for her upsetting upbringing; Cindy was born as a result of rape, and her mother was abusive toward her daughter despite Cindy’s constant efforts to ingratiate herself. The adult Cindy is also at once entitled, narcissistic, and lacking in self-esteem. She is eager to keep her place in the elite social world in which she has entrenched herself and frets over any possible damage to her reputation. Cindy’s mother died in 2003 or 2004, while her rapist father has been dead for two decades. Cindy has a half-sister, born as a result of their mother’s marriage, who lives in Falls Church, Virginia—Cindy’s hometown. She removes herself from Cindy’s life after their mother dies. Cindy is very close to Clark’s family, but becomes distant from friends and family after learning about Clark’s infidelity through the press. She becomes increasingly unstable, socially withdrawn, and more dependent on wine and Vicodin. Eventually, she dies in March 2009 as a result of asphyxiation due to vomit.

Cindy Edwards Quotes in Behold the Dreamers

The Behold the Dreamers quotes below are all either spoken by Cindy Edwards or refer to Cindy Edwards. 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 21 Quotes

“First it was my father…he thought he had the right, you know?” Cindy said.

“Drag my mother into that abandoned house…force her… do it to her by force…don’t give a shit about…not care for a second about what would happen to the child…”

She sniffled, took another sip of wine, and wept.

“And the government…our government,” she moaned, slurring, tears running down her cheeks, snot running down her nose. “They had the right, too. Force my mother to carry the child of a stranger. Force her to give birth to the child because…because…I don’t know why!”

Related Characters: Cindy Edwards (speaker), Neni Jonga, Clark Edwards, Vince Edwards
Page Number: 135
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 26 Quotes

Many would be convinced that the plague that had descended on the homes of former Lehman employees was only a few blocks from theirs. Restaurateurs, artists, private tutors, magazine publishers, foundation directors, limousine drivers, nannies, housekeepers, employment agencies, virtually everyone who stood along the path where money flowed to and from the Street fretted and panicked that day. For some, the fears were justified: Their bread and wine would indeed disappear, along with the billions of dollars that vanished the day Lehman died.

Page Number: 174
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 27 Quotes

“Everything’s going to be all right, Cindy […] Sean has to constantly remind me, too. He says I have to stop checking our portfolios twenty times a day, but I can't help it. I woke up every morning in Florence panicking about losing everything [....]”

Cindy did not immediately respond; she seemed lost in a maze of a hundred thoughts. “I wish I had Sean's calmness,” she finally said. “Nothing ever seems to unravel him.”

“Yeah, but you won’t believe what he suggested to me yesterday,” Cheri said […]

“He thinks maybe we should get rid of Rosa for a few months, to save” […]

“Yeah, that's exactly what we need now, right?” Cindy said. “To be cooking and cleaning and doing laundry while we're losing money and sleep […]”

“But it’s scary how bad this could get,” Cheri said, her tone turning serious as their laughter ebbed. “When people start talking about flying coach and selling vacation homes…”

Related Characters: Cindy Edwards (speaker), Cheri (speaker), Jende Jonga
Page Number: 180
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Behold the Dreamers LitChart as a printable PDF.
Behold the Dreamers PDF

Cindy Edwards Character Timeline in Behold the Dreamers

The timeline below shows where the character Cindy Edwards appears in Behold the Dreamers. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
...of Law but doesn’t come to visit often, much to the dismay of their mother, Cindy Edwards. (full context)
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
When Neni asks what Cindy looks like, Jende says that she’s “good-looking” and looks the way a rich man’s wife... (full context)
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
...off at school. He says that he returned to the Edwardses’ home and picked up Cindy, who had appointments in Battery Park City and SoHo. Then, he picked Mighty up from... (full context)
Chapter 5
Parental Expectations vs. Personal Ambitions Theme Icon
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
Cindy is always cordial, albeit remote, around Jende. Still, he stiffens up every time she gets... (full context)
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
Cindy calls Clark back and asks if he’s going to Mighty’s piano recital. Jende notices that... (full context)
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
Cindy sits for several minutes in a state of glumness, “resting her head in her hand”... (full context)
Chapter 6
Parental Expectations vs. Personal Ambitions Theme Icon
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
...when he was driving Vince back to Columbia after he had dinner with Mighty and Cindy. (full context)
Parental Expectations vs. Personal Ambitions Theme Icon
...Arizona and then hangs up and dials another number. He’s calling Vince to say that Cindy just called to tell Clark that Vince is turning down “the Skadden internship offer” to... (full context)
Chapter 11
The Modern Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
One evening, while waiting for Cindy, Jende gets a call from Bubakar. It’s been a week since they last spoke. Bubakar... (full context)
Chapter 13
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
On the third Thursday in May, while driving Cindy across Fifty-seventh Street, Jende’s cell phone rings and he apologizes, believing that he turned it... (full context)
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
Cindy assures Jende that something will “work out one way or another.” Jende assures her that... (full context)
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Cindy reenters the car twenty minutes later and gets on her phone to talk to Cheri.... (full context)
Chapter 17
The Modern Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
...can take a paid vacation in the first two weeks of August. The Edwardses (mainly Cindy and the boys) will be spending late July and nearly all of August in Southampton.... (full context)
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
Clark says that Cindy will need a housekeeper for four weeks and that Jende should ask Neni if she... (full context)
Chapter 18
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Family and Belonging Theme Icon
Babysitting Mighty is the best part of Neni’s job, and Cindy approves of how happy she makes Mighty. Neni observes how Cindy’s concern for her children’s... (full context)
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Family and Belonging Theme Icon
Neni sees that Cindy is obsessed with being where everyone else in her social circle is and doing what... (full context)
The Modern Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
Jende asks Neni if she looks dead. Neni says that Cindy was still breathing. She asks him what to do and he tells her not to... (full context)
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
Neni goes back upstairs to the guest bedroom and sees Cindy sleeping in the same position. She leans forward and whispers Cindy’s name, while nudging her... (full context)
Chapter 19
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
The next morning, Neni knocks “lightly” but “insistently” at Cindy’s door to ask where she’d like to have her breakfast. It’s eleven o’clock. Cindy says... (full context)
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
Cindy thanks Neni for helping her yesterday. She picks up her sunglasses and puts them on,... (full context)
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
The Modern Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
Cindy takes off her sunglasses and looks into Neni’s eyes. She tells Neni that she wasn’t... (full context)
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
Cindy talks about how she rose above her circumstances by working her way through college, getting... (full context)
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
Cindy thanks Neni and then offers to give her some clothes that she was going to... (full context)
Chapter 21
Parental Expectations vs. Personal Ambitions Theme Icon
...He decides not to say any more about it. Around five that evening, Vince and Cindy leave to meet Clark for dinner at a restaurant in Montauk. The next morning, Neni... (full context)
Parental Expectations vs. Personal Ambitions Theme Icon
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
...it until Mighty returns to Manhattan. Two nights later, though, Neni overhears an argument between Cindy and Clark that reveals Vince’s plans to drop out of law school and move to... (full context)
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
Neni silently steps into the kitchen, afraid of startling Cindy, and stoops close to her. She tells Cindy that she hopes that she and Mr.... (full context)
Parental Expectations vs. Personal Ambitions Theme Icon
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
Neni turns away, not wanting Cindy to see her look of surprise. She can’t give her a hug, but she also... (full context)
Chapter 22
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Neni returns from the Hamptons and tells Betty about Cindy being a product of rape, to which Betty responds that it’s now no surprise why... (full context)
Chapter 23
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
Parental Expectations vs. Personal Ambitions Theme Icon
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
...tells Clark that he hopes that he’s not “too angry” with Vince. Clark says that Cindy thinks that he isn’t angry enough, as though Clark is giving up on Vince. Truthfully,... (full context)
Parental Expectations vs. Personal Ambitions Theme Icon
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
...surprised to hear that Clark writes poems. He says that he once wrote one for Cindy, but she didn’t like it much, so he writes only for himself now. Clark recites... (full context)
Chapter 24
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...glad when Anna calls and asks if she can help out with a brunch that Cindy and her friends are having in Manhattan. Neni and Anna will serve and clean up. (full context)
The Modern Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
...around the room before setting the leftovers on the table, always smiling and nodding at Cindy’s friends, all of whom she’d met in the Hamptons. They are kind and polite to... (full context)
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
Cindy is the “kindest and politest” of everyone in the room, reminding Neni not to overexert... (full context)
The Modern Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
Neni figures that Cindy will one day stop drinking, which is a habit that Neni thinks is no big... (full context)
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
Anna wants to tell Clark about Cindy’s alcoholism, but Neni insists that they can’t. She walks to the kitchen, picks up a... (full context)
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
...scones, unsure of what to say or how to say it. Instead of talking about Cindy, she asks Clark if he’s related to John Edwards. Clark turns toward her, chuckling, and... (full context)
Chapter 25
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
...it would be all right to bring Mighty along. Neni initially refuses, worried of what Cindy would think of her baby being in Harlem near nightfall, but she later relents after... (full context)
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
...going to the Edwardses’ for a playdate. Then again, Neni couldn’t be so sure that Cindy wouldn’t invite Liomi over. Once, when Liomi came down with a case of pneumonia just... (full context)
Chapter 26
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
The Modern Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
...of Lehman Brothers’ collapse, he’s already forgotten about Bosco and his dream about the doublers. Cindy gives Jende the day off. He uses the time to help Neni around the house.... (full context)
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
The Modern Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
Jende calls Clark, who doesn’t answer his phone. He then dials Cindy’s. When she answers, she assures Jende that he still has a job and that nothing’s... (full context)
Chapter 27
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
...Seventh Avenue.” Clark only offers brusque greetings, orders to hurry, or reminders to pick up Cindy or to drop of Mighty. Once, he barked at Jende to cut around another car,... (full context)
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
One day, while Jende is driving Cindy and her friend Cheri to visit Cheri’s mother in Stamford, Cindy talks about how Clark... (full context)
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
Cheri tells Cindy about constantly checking her financial portfolio. She balked when her husband suggested that they get... (full context)
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
Cindy tells Cheri about how people like them will lose money in the short term but... (full context)
Chapter 28
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
...him home. Jende foresees how this will play out: Clark will walk into the house; Cindy will ask him where the tie is; Clark will tell a lie that Cindy won’t... (full context)
Chapter 29
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One evening early in November, three days after Barack Obama is elected president, Cindy asks Jende to come upstairs to the Edwardses’ apartment so that she can speak to... (full context)
Chapter 30
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Jende tells Neni and Winston about his meeting with Cindy. They insist that Jende tell Cindy what she wants to know, and that it wouldn’t... (full context)
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
Jende insists that he understands that he’s merely Cindy’s chauffeur, but that doesn’t mean that he shouldn’t feel sorry for her. Neni reminds Jende... (full context)
Chapter 31
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...Clark, who offers a perfunctory “happy birthday.” Once they start driving, Jende tells Clark that Cindy wants to know where he goes. Clark offers that Jende can tell her “everything,” but... (full context)
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
...do the right thing. Clark assures him that his job is secure. Jende asks about Cindy. Clark says that she’s fine and asks Jende why he’s asking. Before Jende can respond,... (full context)
Chapter 32
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
...expressions that he picked up for the newspaper. He offers this language as proof to Cindy that he’s thinking carefully as he writes. On Friday evening, however, after driving Clark from... (full context)
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
In moments in which Jende fears that Cindy may have tried to contact Clark while he’s at the hotel, Jende writes that they... (full context)
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
Jende wants very much for Cindy to have fun and she seems to have it when she and Clark attend a... (full context)
Chapter 33
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
...to do, but Winston doesn’t pick up. He thinks about what he can say to Cindy when he picks her up at five to drive to Lincoln Center, where she’s to... (full context)
Chapter 37
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
...Anna tells him that Clark is living at a hotel. She also tells him that Cindy won’t be needing his services, but that Mighty will need to get to his piano... (full context)
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
...about his Christmas, which Mighty says he doesn’t want to talk about. He mentions that Cindy called Vince on Skype and that Vince now as “some funny-looking dreadlocks.” He then mentions... (full context)
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
...piano lesson, Jende calls Winston, who assures Jende not to worry. Jende is sure that Cindy was talking about him, but Winston says that women like her have lots of people... (full context)
Chapter 38
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
...the situation as “complicated.” Jende accuses Clark of lying to him and is sure that Cindy is behind the decision. Jende reminds Clark that he did what his boss asked him... (full context)
Chapter 39
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...on the night when he was fired, “pitilessly bowed by life.” Neni cried, knowing that Cindy was behind the decision. Jende assured her that it didn’t matter and held out his... (full context)
Chapter 41
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
...but doesn’t move away from the fiberglass door. She says that she’s there to see Cindy Edwards. The doorman asks if Mrs. Edwards is expecting her. Neni nods. He directs her... (full context)
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
Neni walks toward the hall to apartment 25A. Anna opens the door and says that Cindy has just come back out into the living room. Neni takes her shoes off in... (full context)
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
Cindy emerges, mentioning that Anna said that Neni wanted to give her something. She reaches out... (full context)
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
Neni asks Cindy if one of her friends might need a chauffeur. Cindy scoffs and says that Jende... (full context)
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
Cindy demands that Neni leave and calls Anna to dial 911, saying that she’ll teach Neni... (full context)
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Cindy calls Neni “a filthy bitch” and tells her to name her price. She asks Neni... (full context)
Chapter 42
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...next to him on the sofa. She tells him that it’s ten thousand dollars, which Cindy gave her after telling her about the picture from the Hamptons. Jende is angry and... (full context)
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
...right. Jende says that he wants nothing to do with this “wickedness.” Neni repeats that Cindy thought she could use them because they’re African, while Jende insists that this has nothing... (full context)
Chapter 43
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...morning after Neni left the Edwardses’ apartment. She wants to know what Neni said to Cindy, who locked herself in the bathroom and cried alone for two hours after Neni left.... (full context)
Chapter 45
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Family and Belonging Theme Icon
Cindy Eliza Edwards dies on a cold afternoon in March 2009, five days after Neni walked... (full context)
Chapter 46
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At Cindy’s funeral, Mighty wears a gray suit and plays “a beautifully imperfect” version of Claude Debussy’s... (full context)
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
...about feeling sorry for Mighty. Neni suggests that they donate the ten thousand dollars that Cindy gave her as hush money to Judson Memorial Church. Jende tells her that she needn’t... (full context)
Chapter 50
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
...Neni will regret returning and asks her about using the money that she got from Cindy Edwards. Neni says that Jende won’t allow them to use that money. Betty flares her... (full context)
Chapter 51
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
The Modern Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
...help with get them papers if they pay him with the money she got from Cindy Edwards to pay him. She says that she and Jende should divorce so that she... (full context)
Chapter 55
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
...writing poems for him while he sleeps. He’s also learning how to cook the meals Cindy used to make for Mighty. (full context)
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
...Vince how sorry she is about everything that happened. When Neni asks if he misses Cindy, he says that he accepts the situation. Mighty, however, has been spending most of his... (full context)
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
...knows that she can’t take the job; she’s leaving. Besides, after what she did to Cindy, she couldn’t walk into her home and usurp her place in her child’s life, no... (full context)
Chapter 57
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
The ten thousand dollars Neni got from Cindy, along with the five thousand they saved and the three thousand that Neni earned working... (full context)
Chapter 60
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...greet him. He smiles and offers his hand to shake. Jende gives his condolences for Cindy’s death and says that he was at the memorial service but didn’t have the opportunity... (full context)