Dear Justyce

Dear Justyce

by

Nic Stone

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Dear Justyce can help.

Daddy Character Analysis

Daddy is Quan’s father. He’s been serving a 25-year prison sentence since Quan was 11 and only appears in the novel in flashbacks—specifically, Quan’s recurring nightmare of the night that Daddy was arrested. Daddy was a drug dealer, and the police sent almost a dozen cars, dog teams, and a helicopter to arrest Daddy in the middle of the night. Quan focuses on the fact that Daddy always told him that it’s important to take responsibility for one’s actions. Daddy said that he’d made the choice to deal and understood what the consequences would be if he got caught. Prior to his arrest, Daddy was one of Quan’s biggest supporters. He wanted his son to do better than he did in life and to excel at school, and Quan did everything he could to make Daddy proud. It was devastating when Daddy went to prison because this meant Quan lost Daddy’s support—and to make matters worse, Daddy seems to never write. As a result, Quan gives up on trying to make Daddy proud. Much later, though, Quan discovers that Daddy did write, and Dwight hid the letters. Following Quan’s release from prison, he and Daddy reconnect and write regularly.

Daddy Quotes in Dear Justyce

The Dear Justyce quotes below are all either spoken by Daddy or refer to Daddy. 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:
Choices vs. Fate Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Crown Books edition of Dear Justyce published in 2020.
Chapter 1: Doomed Quotes

His foot hit [a cup of ginger ale] as the officer with his dumb, muscly arm crushing Quan’s rib cage carried Quan through the kitchen like Quan was some kind of doll baby.

The sudden freezing air as Quan was whisked outside in his thin Iron Man pajamas with no shoes or jacket...and the subsequent strange warmth running down Quan’s legs when he saw Just. How. Many.

Police cars.

There were.

Outside.

Related Characters: Quan Banks, Daddy
Page Number: 15-16
Explanation and Analysis:

But then his lungs started to burn. Images of Dasia and Gabe popped into his head. He remembered telling Gabe he’d teach him how to play Uno when he got back from Daddy’s house this time. Little dude was four now and ready to learn.

Quan’s head swam.

Dasia would be waiting for Quan to polish her toenails purple. That was the prize he’d promised her if she aced her spelling test. And she did.

[...]

And Mama...

Dwight—

Related Characters: Quan Banks, Mrs. Pavlostathis, Dasia, Gabe, Daddy
Page Number: 21-22
Explanation and Analysis:
January 12 Quotes

The minute that van drove away with him in it, I felt...doomed.

It’s why I stopped talking to you. Everybody else too, but especially you. I woulda never admitted this (honestly don’t know why I’m admitting it now...) but I kinda looked up to you. Yeah, you were only a year older and you were dorky as hell, but you had your shit together in a way I wanted mine to be.

I knew if I could just be like you, my dad would be proud of me.

Related Characters: Quan Banks (speaker), Justyce, Daddy, Ms. Mays
Page Number: 26
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 2: Downhill Quotes

Even at twelve, it didn’t escape Quan’s notice that the men in his mama’s life—Daddy included—used money to get her to do what they wanted her to do. It bothered him no end. But he wasn’t sure what he could do about it.

Which became a running theme: not knowing what he could do about anything.

So he stayed focused.

Related Characters: Quan Banks (speaker), Mama, Daddy, Dwight
Page Number: 30
Explanation and Analysis:

“And best believe your father is gonna hear about this. Might even send him the evidence of your indiscretion.” Quan could hear the paper crinkle as she surely held it up in the air. “Cheating. I can’t even believe you—”

And that was all he heard. Because in that moment everything crystallized for Vernell LaQuan Banks Jr.

It didn’t matter what he did.

Staying focused didn’t give Quan any control at all.

Related Characters: Mama (speaker), Quan Banks, Daddy, Ms. Mays
Page Number: 36
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 4: Defiance Quotes

He locked eyes with the cop, and the Bad (Dad) Night washed over him, and his chest

locked up

the way it had when kid-snatcher cop had Quan’s scrawny eleven-year-old torso wrapped in that death grip.

Wasn’t the best time for it either. Swole Cop took Quan’s inability to answer questions—

We got a problem here, son?

You hear me talkin’ to you?

So you’re a tough guy then?

Not gonna answer my questions?

—as an act of defiance.

Quan found air the moment Swole Cop’s ham-ish hand locked around Quan’s (still scrawny) upper arm in a death grip.

Related Characters: Quan Banks, Daddy
Page Number: 61
Explanation and Analysis:

Delinquent Junior,”

Dwight had been calling him for years.

Was that who he was for real?

There was no denying the impulse to take what wasn’t his. Was the D in his DNA for delinquent? The Jr. shorthand of “Junior” for just repeating?

Maybe Daddy had been wrong. Ms. Mays too.

There was no way out.

No way up.

Maybe a way through...but he had no idea what to.

Could he really be anyone different than who he was?

Who even was he?

Related Characters: Quan Banks, Dwight, Daddy, Ms. Mays
Page Number: 65
Explanation and Analysis:
Snapshot: A Boy Meeting a Man (2016) Quotes

“You mad about it?”

This gives Quan pause. It’s a question no one’s ever asked him, case managers included. He meets Martel’s gaze. “Yeah,” he says. “I am.”

“Why? You did the crime, didn’t you?”

Now Quan gulps. Last thing he wants to do is start sounding like some of the dudes in lockup who constantly complained about how “unfair” the system is. “Always take responsibility for your actions, Junior,” Daddy used to say. “I know the potential consequences of what I do, and I choose to do it anyway, so if it comes down on me, I don’t get to complain.”

Related Characters: Martel (speaker), Quan Banks (speaker), Daddy (speaker)
Page Number: 87
Explanation and Analysis:
April 4 Quotes

The reason I joined the Black Jihad: I needed backup. Support without judgment. People who hadn’t—and wouldn’t—give up on me.

I needed a family.

Related Characters: Quan Banks (speaker), Justyce, Martel, Mama, Daddy
Page Number: 93-94
Explanation and Analysis:
September 10, 2017 Quotes

Doesn’t matter now. I chose my path. Though, real talk—and I promise this isn’t me making an excuse—I don’t really see where there was a different path for a dude like me. Just like there probably wasn’t a different one for a dude like you. Is what it is, right?

Related Characters: Quan Banks (speaker), Daddy
Page Number: 129
Explanation and Analysis:
Snapshot: Two Young Men on a New (To Them) Playground Quotes

“You miss [the rocket ship]?”

At first, Quan doesn’t respond. Because he really has to think about it. His eyes roam the always-clean park space. Touch on his mom [...] his sister [...] his brother [...] his best friend right beside him.

Only thing missing is his dad. But they write to each other weekly, and Quan’s been out to visit the old man a few times, so even that’s okay.

[...]

He smiles. “You know what, man? I don’t.”

“You don’t?”

“Nah,” Quan says. “No need to go to outer space.”

[...]

“Everything I need is right here.”

Related Characters: Quan Banks (speaker), Justyce (speaker), Mama, Daddy, Dasia, Gabe
Related Symbols: The Rocket Ship
Page Number: 253
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Dear Justyce LitChart as a printable PDF.
Dear Justyce PDF

Daddy Character Timeline in Dear Justyce

The timeline below shows where the character Daddy appears in Dear Justyce. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Snapshot: Two Boys on a Brand-New Playground (2010)
Justice, Racial Bias, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Identity, Support, and Community Theme Icon
Family, Loyalty, and Belonging Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Violence Theme Icon
...him into the dining room table. It was nearly impossible to hide the bruise from Daddy, who would surely do something scary if he knew what was going on. So Quan... (full context)
Chapter 1: Doomed
Justice, Racial Bias, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Family, Loyalty, and Belonging Theme Icon
...and terrified him. Police officers poured into the house with guns. Quan heard thuds and Daddy shouting that he wasn’t resisting. Then, all of a sudden, a cop snatched Quan and... (full context)
Justice, Racial Bias, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Identity, Support, and Community Theme Icon
Family, Loyalty, and Belonging Theme Icon
...were so terrifying that Quan wet himself. There were dogs and a helicopter. Cops wrestled Daddy into a van. Daddy shouted encouragement to Quan before police knocked him out and shoved... (full context)
Justice, Racial Bias, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Violence Theme Icon
...smile under other circumstances—Mrs. Pavlostathis is Greek, not white. She babysat Quan for years while Daddy made “emergency runs,” and she was one of Daddy’s clients too. Quan remembered Mama saying... (full context)
January 12
Justice, Racial Bias, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Identity, Support, and Community Theme Icon
Family, Loyalty, and Belonging Theme Icon
Quan writes that his Daddy was arrested a few years after he and Justyce met in the rocket ship. Daddy... (full context)
Choices vs. Fate Theme Icon
Identity, Support, and Community Theme Icon
Family, Loyalty, and Belonging Theme Icon
Quan notes that Daddy’s job wasn’t “statutory,” but Daddy was insistent that Quan would do better. He’d even leave... (full context)
Choices vs. Fate Theme Icon
Justice, Racial Bias, and Growing Up Theme Icon
But seeing what Justyce wrote about being set off, Quan wonders if Daddy’s attempts were pointless. At this point, it doesn’t matter—Quan will probably get more time than... (full context)
Chapter 2: Downhill
Choices vs. Fate Theme Icon
Family, Loyalty, and Belonging Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Violence Theme Icon
...able to escape everything crashing down around him. Unsurprisingly, Dwight moves in not long after Daddy’s arrest. The only reason he hadn’t already moved in is because Daddy said he wouldn’t... (full context)
Choices vs. Fate Theme Icon
Justice, Racial Bias, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Family, Loyalty, and Belonging Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Violence Theme Icon
...throws himself into school and wants to go out for football in a few years. Daddy never got to use his college football scholarship since Mama got pregnant with Quan and... (full context)
Identity, Support, and Community Theme Icon
Family, Loyalty, and Belonging Theme Icon
Then, a year after Daddy’s arrest, The Math Test arrives. Quan is the only seventh grader in the Algebra 1... (full context)
Choices vs. Fate Theme Icon
Justice, Racial Bias, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Identity, Support, and Community Theme Icon
...he’d score so well, given his previous grades. Worst of all, Mama promises to tell Daddy about this. In this moment, Quan realizes that staying focused doesn’t give him any control. (full context)
Snapshot: Two Boys Not Speaking (2013)
Survival, Poverty, and Violence Theme Icon
...Mama is wearing a long-sleeved turtleneck dress in summer. Would he leave if he knew Daddy is in prison? Manny would be shocked if he knew Quan stole things. His eyes... (full context)
Chapter 4: Defiance
Choices vs. Fate Theme Icon
Justice, Racial Bias, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...time Quan has ever felt as scared as he was the night the cops took Daddy was during his own first arrest. He’s 13 and mad for no reason, but this... (full context)
Choices vs. Fate Theme Icon
Justice, Racial Bias, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...As Quan meets the cop’s eyes, his chest locks up and he remembers the night Daddy was arrested. Quan can’t answer when the cop demands Quan answer his questions, and the... (full context)
Choices vs. Fate Theme Icon
Identity, Support, and Community Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Violence Theme Icon
...cop drags Quan out forcefully, even though Quan isn’t resisting. In his mind, Quan sees Daddy go limp as the cop cuffs him. Quan wets his pants and begins to cry.... (full context)
Choices vs. Fate Theme Icon
Identity, Support, and Community Theme Icon
...he got here or what he’s supposed to do. Will he go to jail, like Daddy did? It was just a deck of cards, but it seems like things are stacked... (full context)
Identity, Support, and Community Theme Icon
Family, Loyalty, and Belonging Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Violence Theme Icon
...about the abuse won’t help. Quan would probably end up with a random relative of Daddy’s, and Quan isn’t sure if Dwight even has family to take in Dasia and Gabe.... (full context)
March 12
Choices vs. Fate Theme Icon
Identity, Support, and Community Theme Icon
...middle and high school, influences are extra important—and that’s the time that Quan lost both Daddy and Ms. Mays. Trey wasn’t a good influence, but he “saw” Quan. Now, Quan wonders... (full context)
Snapshot: A Boy Meeting a Man (2016)
Choices vs. Fate Theme Icon
Justice, Racial Bias, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Violence Theme Icon
...like the guys in prison who always complain about how unfair things are; he remembers Daddy saying it’s important to take responsibility. But Quan always felt like the complaints contained nuggets... (full context)
April 4
Justice, Racial Bias, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Identity, Support, and Community Theme Icon
...home, was too much. Mama didn’t seem to care much, and Quan hadn’t heard from Daddy since he went to prison. There was nobody to support Quan, which is why Justyce’s... (full context)
Snapshot: A Boy Alone on a Run-Down Playground (2017)
Justice, Racial Bias, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Identity, Support, and Community Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Violence Theme Icon
...a similar hole inside of him. There are other holes in him too, like for Daddy and his childhood. This hole, though, feels like a closed door. Now, Quan will never... (full context)
September 10, 2017
Identity, Support, and Community Theme Icon
Family, Loyalty, and Belonging Theme Icon
In a letter to Daddy, Quan writes that he’s not sure how to start. There’s too much to write, though... (full context)
Choices vs. Fate Theme Icon
Justice, Racial Bias, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Family, Loyalty, and Belonging Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Violence Theme Icon
Quan apologizes one more time for failing to become what Daddy wanted him to be. He can’t explain everything, but someone hid Daddy’s letters from Quan.... (full context)
Chapter 8: Deal
Choices vs. Fate Theme Icon
Family, Loyalty, and Belonging Theme Icon
...moment he realized he didn’t have his gun on him. He went home, finished reading Daddy’s letters, and wrote Daddy a letter in return. Then, he waited and considered his dilemma.... (full context)
Snapshot: Two Young Men on a New (To Them) Playground
Justice, Racial Bias, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Family, Loyalty, and Belonging Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Violence Theme Icon
...boy. Gabe is having a great birthday, and Quan has his best friend with him. Daddy’s the only one missing, but they write weekly, and Quan has visited him in prison.... (full context)