Behold the Dreamers

Behold the Dreamers

by

Imbolo Mbue

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Behold the Dreamers can help.

Leah Character Analysis

Clark Edwards’s secretary at Lehman Brothers. She is friendly with Jende and uses their friendship to try to get information out of him about what he hears during Clark’s frequent phone conversations in his car. She is an affable woman with a “high-pitched honeyed voice” and a girlish manner that causes her to giggle at ordinary things. Sixty years old, Leah is also described as wide, round, and tall—standing a head above many other women. She wears her hair in a curly bob and covers the signs of middle-age on her face in what Jende thinks might be “half a dozen layers of makeup.” She has worked for Clark for fifteen years, and though Jende fears for her employment prospects as an older woman on the job market after the market collapses, Clark insists she will be fine.

Leah Quotes in Behold the Dreamers

The Behold the Dreamers quotes below are all either spoken by Leah or refer to Leah. 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 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:

More jobs would be lost […] The Dow would drop in titanic percentages. It would rise and fall and rise and fall, over and over, like a demonic wave. 401(k)s would be cut in half, disappear as if stolen by maleficent aliens. Retirements would have to be postponed […] College education funds would be withdrawn; many hands would never know the feel of a desired diploma. Dream homes would not be bought. Dream wedding plans would be reconsidered. Dream vacations would not be taken […] In many different ways it would be […] a calamity like the one that had befallen the Egyptians in the Old Testament. The only difference between the Egyptians then and the Americans now, Jende reasoned, was that the Egyptians […] had chosen riches over righteousness, rapaciousness over justice. The Americans had done no such thing. And yet, all through the land, willows would weep for the end of many dreams.

Related Characters: Jende Jonga, Leah
Related Symbols: The Doublers
Page Number: 184-185
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Behold the Dreamers LitChart as a printable PDF.
Behold the Dreamers PDF

Leah Character Timeline in Behold the Dreamers

The timeline below shows where the character Leah appears in Behold the Dreamers. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 6
Parental Expectations vs. Personal Ambitions Theme Icon
...or come to his office so that they can talk. He directs Vince to call Leah and check his calendar, saying it’s important that he talk to his parents before making... (full context)
Chapter 7
The Modern Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Around noon, Leah calls Jende, saying that he’ll need to drive back to the Lehman Brothers office tower... (full context)
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
Leah asks how Jende likes working for Clark. He says he likes it very much and... (full context)
Chapter 23
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
...whenever Clark is in the car these days, he’s shouting at someone on the phone. Leah tells Jende that Lehman Brothers is a mess, and Clark is going crazy. It saddens... (full context)
Chapter 27
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
...This prompts Jende to wonder how Vince is doing in India. He also thinks about Leah. He worries about her high blood pressure and swelling feet. One day, Jende dials the... (full context)
Chapter 33
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
...despicable,” so the story isn’t dismissed. It’s talked about in barbershops and on playground benches. Leah calls Jende and tells him that an escort claims that she has lots of clients... (full context)
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
Jende cuts his conversation with Leah short to go pick up Mighty. He hangs up, thinking about how miserable Leah had... (full context)
Chapter 60
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
...he hands to Jende. Jende thanks him and then asks if Clark has heard from Leah. Clark says that he heard from her a couple of months ago, when she tried... (full context)