Brown Girl Dreaming

Hope Character Analysis

Hope, Jacqueline’s older brother, is generally quiet and reserved, except when talking about his two favorite things: comic books and science. He is named after his paternal grandfather, Grandpa Hope. When the family first moves to South Carolina, Hope suffers from allergies and misses his father. Later he adjusts to South Carolina and then to New York. Hope enjoys experimenting with his chemistry set and playing outside with Jacqueline and the other neighborhood children.
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Hope Character Timeline in Brown Girl Dreaming

The timeline below shows where the character Hope appears in Brown Girl Dreaming. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1: i am born
Racism, Activism, and the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements Theme Icon
greenville, south carolina, 1963. Jacqueline describes Mama moving to the back of a bus with Hope, Odella, and Jacqueline in South Carolina, where segregation is still pervasive and black people must... (full context)
The North and The South Theme Icon
home. Mama, Jacqueline, Odella, and Hope arrive at the home of Mama’s parents, MaryAnn and Gunnar, in South Carolina. Jacqueline’s grandmother... (full context)
Part 2: the stories of south carolina run like rivers
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...move to South Carolina, Jacqueline notes that people start to refer to her, Odella, and Hope in relation to their grandparents (saying, for example, they are “MaryAnn’s babies”). She also pays... (full context)
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...only doing daywork so that they never have to. While their grandmother finally relaxes, Jacqueline, Hope, and Odella wash her feet in Epsom salts to reduce the swelling. (full context)
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bible times. MaryAnn tells Jacqueline, Odella, and Hope about the Bible stories she reads each night before she goes to bed. When she... (full context)
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The North and The South Theme Icon
...noting how, from time to time, Odella disappears under the kitchen table to read. When Hope and Jacqueline try to distract her with playful noises, she ignores them. (full context)
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hope. Hope isn’t adjusting well to South Carolina, due to his allergies in the warmer climate and... (full context)
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the right way to speak. Jacqueline recounts an instance when Mama beat Hope with a willow switch for saying “ain’t.” This reminds the children of the particular ways... (full context)
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When Jacqueline, Odella, and Hope go into Greenville, they see the sit-ins for themselves. Gunnar explains that peaceful protest is... (full context)
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...and cousin, visits with her children, who say they won’t play with Jacqueline, Odella, and Hope because of the fast, Northern way they speak. (full context)
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Jacqueline, Odella, and Hope spend time with Dorothy and Mama. Dorothy talks about activist training with their mother, which... (full context)
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...Gunnar’s parents “gave their kids names that no master could ever take away.” They discuss Hope’s name, which Odella says is strange for a boy. Hope argues it’s because he’s the... (full context)
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...stories. One fall night, the neighborhood women quilt on the porch together and talk. Meanwhile, Hope, Odella, and Jacqueline sit on the stairs and eavesdrop, quiet for fear that MaryAnn will... (full context)
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...chill, before acknowledging that it has been many years since she saw her father Jack. Hope tells her she is lucky she doesn’t remember how their parents used to fight. Jacqueline... (full context)
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the last fireflies. Jacqueline, Odella, and Hope, knowing that they will soon be moving away from Greenville, catch their last fireflies each... (full context)
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...feeling of the brush is already becoming a memory. Jacqueline sits on the porch with Hope and Odella and they talk about how, once they’ve moved to New York, they’ll still... (full context)
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hall street. Jacqueline, Hope, and Odella spend their Bible study time on the front porch, drinking hot chocolate and... (full context)
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...phone in the house rings, the children run to it, knowing it is Mama calling. Hope picks up the phone, but MaryAnn takes it from him, and promises them each a... (full context)
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...attributes their possessions, like the swings in the backyard, to God. Still, Jacqueline, Odella, and Hope continue their Bible study, hoping for the “eternity” promised by the Church. The empty swing... (full context)
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roman. The next morning, Jacqueline meets her baby brother, Roman. Hope is happy to have another boy in the family. Jacqueline, however, resents the new baby,... (full context)
Part 3: followed the sky’s mirrored constellation to freedom
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another way. In November, Jacqueline, Odella, and Hope beg to watch television or play outside, but Mama won’t let them. Instead, Mama brings... (full context)
Memory Theme Icon
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...of Jack have faded. Through a friend, Mama learns that the children’s paternal grandfather, Grandfather Hope, has died. They are not upset, since they did not even know he was still... (full context)
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chemistry. Hope has developed an interest in two things: comic books and science. Mama buys him a... (full context)
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going home again. Jacqueline, Odella, and Hope kiss Roman goodbye in the hospital before taking the train to Greenville for the summer.... (full context)
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...is the same as ever. She stands at the sink washing collard greens and chastises Hope when he lets the screen door slam. Later they will drink lemonade and play checkers... (full context)
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...accents. Odella cries too, and, furious, fights the other children who make fun of them. Hope, meanwhile, is stoic. Jacqueline gets the sense that they are caught between two homes: New... (full context)
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field service. Thanks to MaryAnn’s influence, Jacqueline, Hope, and Odella spend their Saturdays evangelizing. For the first time, Jacqueline is allowed to knock... (full context)
Part 4: deep in my heart i do believe
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...whine. Outside, their friends, who are allowed to stay out later, complain that Jacqueline and Hope shouldn’t have to go inside so early. (full context)
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hope onstage. Hope sings at a school concert, impressing and surprising his family with the quality of his... (full context)
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...butterflies for inspiration. No one believes that she can write an entire book about butterflies; Hope insists that it’s impossible since butterflies have short lives. But Jacqueline believes that on paper... (full context)
Racism, Activism, and the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements Theme Icon
...the prison, the family goes through the gate and past the guards. The prison disturbs Hope, and Jacqueline can tell. Jacqueline watches a security officer pat Hope down, and thinks how... (full context)