Behold the Dreamers

Behold the Dreamers

by

Imbolo Mbue

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Clark Edwards Character Analysis

Jende’s employer, Clark is a workaholic, matter-of-fact, and authoritative investment banker at Lehman Brothers. Clark is the husband of Cindy Edwards and the father of Vince and Mighty. Clark has worked at Lehman Brothers for twenty-two years. He grew up in Evanston, Illinois, though his family briefly lived in Arlington, Virginia before going west, and has a twin sister named Ceci. His father was a professor at Northwestern University. At the time in which the novel takes place, his father is recently celebrating his eightieth birthday. Clark’s parents live in California, while his sister, Ceci, lives in Seattle with her children. Clark attended Stanford University and spent a year abroad studying in Paris. He entered Stanford as a physics major, wanting to become a professor like his father. He changed his mind, however, when he realized how much more an investment banker makes compared to an academic. He still writes poetry to comfort himself. After his wife’s death, Clark decides to move to Virginia with Mighty and work on forging stronger familial bonds. In Virginia, he will head a firm that lobbies for credit unions. His parents are also moving from California to be closer to him and Mighty.

Clark Edwards Quotes in Behold the Dreamers

The Behold the Dreamers quotes below are all either spoken by Clark Edwards or refer to Clark 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 15 Quotes

“Because right now we're pulling these tricks and the SEC's playing dumb, but you know as well as I do that if this shit falls apart and the chaos starts spreading they're going to throw us out for the public to crucify, by claiming they didn’t know a damn thing, and we all know it's a lie.”

Related Characters: Clark Edwards (speaker), Jende Jonga, Tom
Related Symbols: The Doublers
Page Number: 100
Explanation and Analysis:
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 23 Quotes

“At his age, all I wanted was the life that I have right now. This exact life, this was what I wanted.”

“It is a good life, sir. A very good life.”

“Sometimes. But I can understand why Vince doesn’t want it. Because these days I don’t want it, either. All this shit going on at Lehman, all this stuff we would never have done twenty years ago because we stood for something more, and now really dirty shit is becoming the norm. All over the Street. But try to show good sense, talk of consequences, have a far-long-term outlook, and they look at you as if you've lost your marbles […]”

“And I know Vince has got a point, but the problem is not some system. It is us. Each of us. We've got to fix ourselves before we can fix a whole damn country […]”

Related Characters: Jende Jonga (speaker), Clark Edwards (speaker), Vince Edwards
Page Number: 146
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

“What are you going to do now?” he asked her.

“Something really great," she said, sounding more upbeat than she had in the morning. “I've got over twenty years of experience, honey. I'm not worried. I'm going to take a month and relax before I start a job search.”

“You should do that.”

“I will, maybe go see my sister in Florida. That's the good thing about a life with no husband or children—no one to hold me back, make me feel as if I can't go where I want, whenever I want, do what I want. I'm going to enjoy myself in Sarasota, and when I come back, I'll dust off the old résumé.”

“You will get a new job very fast when you return,” Jende said. “Mr. Edwards will surely tell everyone that you were a good secretary.”

Related Characters: Jende Jonga (speaker), Leah (speaker), Clark Edwards
Page Number: 183
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Behold the Dreamers LitChart as a printable PDF.
Behold the Dreamers PDF

Clark Edwards Character Timeline in Behold the Dreamers

The timeline below shows where the character Clark Edwards appears in Behold the Dreamers. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
The Modern Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
Jende Jonga walks into the halls of Lehman Brothers for his job interview with Clark Edwards. This is the first time in which Jende has worn a suit—the “green double-breasted... (full context)
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
The Modern Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Jende’s mouth falls open at the sight of the Clark’s plush furnishings and the views of Central Park and the Manhattan skyline. Clark asks Jende... (full context)
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
The Modern Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Jende tells Clark that he’s been in the country since 2004. During the interview, Jende feels both parched... (full context)
Chapter 3
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
The Modern Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
While driving along White Plains Road, a call comes in from Clark Edwards’s secretary, notifying Jende that he got the chauffeur job at a salary of thirty-five... (full context)
Chapter 4
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
...Stacy, to Mighty’s piano lesson on the Upper West Side. After that, he picked up Clark from his office and took him to a steak house on Long Island before returning... (full context)
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
The Modern Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
...dissuaded her, insisting that Jende had to look good to drive around a man like Clark Edwards. She assures Neni that, one day, when Jende becomes rich, she’ll buy all of... (full context)
Chapter 5
Parental Expectations vs. Personal Ambitions Theme Icon
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
...Vince won’t be going with his family to Aspen, Colorado, for Christmas. Instead, she tells Clark, he wants to go to “some silent retreat in Costa Rica.” When her husband seems... (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 her voice... (full context)
Chapter 6
The Modern Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
Jende is driving Clark back from Washington, D.C. They are cruising across the Delaware Memorial Bridge and entering New... (full context)
Parental Expectations vs. Personal Ambitions Theme Icon
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
Clark describes this as “fascinating,” while reopening his laptop. Jende goes on to say that Limbe... (full context)
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
The Modern Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Parental Expectations vs. Personal Ambitions Theme Icon
Clark asks Jende why he’s in America if Limbe is so beautiful. Jende says that everyone... (full context)
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
The Modern Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
Clark takes a call in which he explains in ten seconds why someone shouldn’t be fired... (full context)
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
Clark picks up a buzzing phone and says something to someone named Phil about being unsure... (full context)
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
The Modern Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
Clark places other calls, including one to Paris during which Jende overhears him speaking “mediocre French,”... (full context)
The Modern Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
Thinking of Ceci, Clark calls her. He leaves a voicemail message in which he notes how busy he’s been... (full context)
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
Clark doesn’t understand. Poor people marry all the time. Jende explains that, in Cameroon, “not everyone... (full context)
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
The Modern Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
Clark says that he hopes Neni’s “worth it.” Jende insists that he has “the best wife... (full context)
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
The Modern Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
While flipping through some loose papers from a folder, Clark asks how Jende could afford to buy a plane ticket to the U.S. if he... (full context)
Parental Expectations vs. Personal Ambitions Theme Icon
Clark’s phone buzzes again. He speaks to someone about someone else going to Arizona and then... (full context)
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
Parental Expectations vs. Personal Ambitions Theme Icon
Clark hangs up the phone and sighs deeply, muttering about how “unbelievable” his son is. Jende... (full context)
Chapter 7
The Modern Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
...drive back to the Lehman Brothers office tower to drop off “an important folder” that Clark left in the backseat and needed for “a three o’clock meeting.” She tells Jende that... (full context)
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
Leah asks how Jende likes working for Clark. He says he likes it very much and that Mr. Edwards is a good man.... (full context)
Chapter 9
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
The Modern Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
...a Tuesday in April 2008, Bubakar calls while Jende’s parked on a street corner, “reading Clark’s discarded Wall Street Journal.” When he answers, Bubakar tells him that his asylum application wasn’t... (full context)
Chapter 11
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
The Modern Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
...not having a work permit. Jende wonders about his own work permit. Bubakar asks if Clark asked to see Jende’s work permit when he hired him. Jende says no, and Bubakar... (full context)
Chapter 13
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
...her for another woman after thirty years of marriage. Cindy says that she worries that Clark will one day do the same—announce that he’s in love with “someone younger and prettier.”... (full context)
Chapter 15
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
Jende drives Clark to a golf course in Westchester one afternoon. Clark has taken up his friend Phil’s... (full context)
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
Clark reminds Tom that they may soon have to face Congress. Also, what’s the next generation... (full context)
Chapter 16
Parental Expectations vs. Personal Ambitions Theme Icon
Jende assures Vince that his parents are “good people” and that Clark works very hard for his children. Jende thinks that Vince should be thankful that he... (full context)
Chapter 17
The Modern Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
That summer, New York is unbearably hot. Clark tells Jende that he can take a paid vacation in the first two weeks of... (full context)
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
Clark says that Cindy will need a housekeeper for four weeks and that Jende should ask... (full context)
Chapter 18
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
...offers to run a bath and Cindy nods in agreement. She then tells Neni that Clark won’t be coming home that night, and that Vince is leaving after he and Mighty... (full context)
Chapter 21
Parental Expectations vs. Personal Ambitions Theme Icon
...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 sees nothing of Vince... (full context)
Parental Expectations vs. Personal Ambitions Theme Icon
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
...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 India. Cindy... (full context)
Parental Expectations vs. Personal Ambitions Theme Icon
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
...but she also can’t figure out what to say. Cindy goes on to say that Clark thinks that he has the right to love her less than his work. And now,... (full context)
Chapter 23
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
Jende notices that whenever Clark is in the car these days, he’s shouting at someone on the phone. Leah tells... (full context)
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
On the last Thursday of August, Jende holds the car door open for Clark outside of the Chelsea Hotel. Clark directs Jende to go to Hudson River Park and... (full context)
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
Parental Expectations vs. Personal Ambitions Theme Icon
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
Clark tells Jende about Vince’s plans to move to India and Jende pretends that he didn’t... (full context)
Parental Expectations vs. Personal Ambitions Theme Icon
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
Jende tells Clark that he thinks that Vince will probably return from India after several months and then... (full context)
Chapter 24
The Modern Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
...their mother died four years ago. Anna says that Cindy has no family, except for Clark and the boys. (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... (full context)
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
During the brunch, Anna prompts Neni to talk to Clark, while people were starting to leave. Neni nods and starts walking toward the living room.... (full context)
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
...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 says that he... (full context)
Chapter 26
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
...The news has broken that Lehman Brothers has collapsed. Neni wonders if this means that Clark no longer has a job. Considering this, Jende wonders if he still has a job.... (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... (full context)
Chapter 27
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
The next time Jende sees Clark, it seems that the latter has aged ten years in seven days. While driving Clark... (full context)
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
...Cindy and her friend Cheri to visit Cheri’s mother in Stamford, Cindy talks about how Clark behaved on the eve of Lehman Brothers’ collapse. He arrived home early two nights before... (full context)
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
...end, unlike “those poor devils on the streets.” She says that she hasn’t spoken to Clark much since the night he returned home looking defeated, and that she went three days... (full context)
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
Jende thinks about the previous night, when, after work, Clark called his friend Frank to see if it might be time for him to get... (full context)
Chapter 28
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
Jende drives Clark to the Chelsea Hotel at least a dozen times in the five weeks after Lehman... (full context)
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
The bond between Jende and Clark is “firmly established” by this secret. This is why Jende says no more than what... (full context)
Chapter 29
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
...notebook toward Jende and asks him to write down every place to which he drives Clark. She assures him that the notebook will be their secret. Jende hesitates, afraid of losing... (full context)
Chapter 30
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
...decides to have him fired, it’s she who’ll cry, not Cindy. Jende doesn’t think that Clark would ever fire him because of his wife and assures Neni and Winston that he’ll... (full context)
Chapter 31
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
On the morning of his thirty-eighth birthday, Jende holds the car door open for Clark, who offers a perfunctory “happy birthday.” Once they start driving, Jende tells Clark that Cindy... (full context)
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
Jende thanks Clark in exchange, saying that he was afraid of losing his job if he didn’t do... (full context)
Chapter 32
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
Twice a day, Jende writes down what Clark does, including times, locations, and names. He also adds descriptions of people, though their actions... (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 were stuck in the Holland Tunnel,... (full context)
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
...much for Cindy to have fun and she seems to have it when she and Clark attend a gala at the Waldorf Astoria the Monday after Thanksgiving. The holiday had been... (full context)
Chapter 33
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
...clients from Barclays who have been paying her with government bailout money. The woman mentions Clark among her frequent clients. (full context)
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
...for dinner and the opera. He prepares himself to assure her that he’s never seen Clark with a prostitute. He opens the door for Cindy and greets her, but she doesn’t... (full context)
Chapter 35
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
The Modern Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Jende calls Clark to share the news, and Clark tells Jende that he can take off as much... (full context)
Chapter 37
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
...to work, “only to find that there [isn’t] much to do.” Anna tells him that Clark is living at a hotel. She also tells him that Cindy won’t be needing his... (full context)
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
...of people working for her. Winston offers to call Frank and ask him, figuring that Clark would mention this to Frank. Winston can then ask Frank to help him convince Clark... (full context)
Chapter 38
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
After receiving a call from Clark, asking him to come down to his office, Jende parks the car in the garage... (full context)
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
Jende enters Clark’s office and sees Clark sitting at his desk, writing on a legal pad. He lifts... (full context)
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
Clark mentions that “it’s a horrible time” for this to happen due to Jende’s new baby.... (full context)
Chapter 40
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
...son goes to bed. He makes less than half of what he made working for Clark Edwards. Three weeks into the job, his feet begin to ache. (full context)
Chapter 41
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
...She calls Neni “a very funny girl” and says that Jende “lost his job because Clark no longer needs his services,” and “there’s nothing [she] can do about that.” (full context)
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
...She asks Neni how she could do such a thing after all that she and Clark have done for her and Jende. Cindy writes a check, but Neni demands cash. Cindy... (full context)
Chapter 42
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
Jende insists that he doesn’t like what Clark did, but that Mr. Edwards had a right to do what he needed to do.... (full context)
Chapter 45
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
...five days after Neni walked out of her apartment. She was alone in bed because Clark was in London on a business trip, Vince was still in India, and Mighty was... (full context)
Chapter 49
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Chapter 55
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
...family is doing and she asks about his. Vince tells her about what a worrier Clark has become, checking in on everyone all the time. He tends to Mighty’s well-being, rescheduling... (full context)
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
Vince says that, now that Mighty and Clark are okay, he’ll probably never return to the U.S. permanently. Neni tells Vince how sorry... (full context)
Chapter 60
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
Jende sends Clark Edwards an email, announcing his return home. Clark returns the message a couple of hours... (full context)
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
Parental Expectations vs. Personal Ambitions Theme Icon
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
Clark says that he and Mighty are moving to Virginia. He found a job in Washington,... (full context)
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Family and Belonging Theme Icon
Jende says that he stopped by, not only to say goodbye, but to thank Clark for the job that he gave him. Clark is touched. No one has ever traveled... (full context)
The Modern Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
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Out of curiosity, Clark asks why the Jongas are returning home. Jende says that his asylum application wasn’t approved.... (full context)
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
Clark goes over to his briefcase and returns with a white envelope, which he hands to... (full context)