Dear Justyce

Dear Justyce

by

Nic Stone

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Doc Character Analysis

Doc is Quan’s tutor in prison. He taught Justyce at a private high school in Atlanta, which is how he ended up becoming Quan’s tutor. Doc is an African American man with piercing green eyes, and Quan finds him annoying at first. Doc uses academic language and asks Quan to think about things that are difficult or complex, such as how the United States fails to uphold its ideals. Eventually, Doc becomes one of Quan’s most trusted and valued supporters. From this position, Doc is able to ask Quan questions and give him assignments that ask Quan to reflect on his identity. One of the most important ways that Doc does this is by assigning Quan classic 20th century novels like Native Son and Catch-22, and by getting Quan interested in poetry. It’s Doc’s questions that ultimately lead Quan to confess to Justyce that he didn’t kill Officer Castillo. At one point, Doc asks if Quan is a “killer” in an attempt to pry into Quan’s intent when he fired his gun. But once Quan feels secure in the support of Doc and his other mentors, Quan feels safe telling the truth and saying that he’s not a killer. Doc continues to support Quan through achieving his high school diploma while in prison and even opens up his home to Quan following his release. Quan spends several months with Doc and Doc’s husband, which gives Quan the opportunity to observe two happy, successful Black men at close range. And given how much Quan loves academics, reading, and eventually working for Doc’s tutoring service, Doc becomes a major role model. He shows Quan what’s possible if he continues to pursue academics.
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Doc Character Timeline in Dear Justyce

The timeline below shows where the character Doc appears in Dear Justyce. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
February 8
Identity, Support, and Community Theme Icon
Family, Loyalty, and Belonging Theme Icon
...stack of graphic novels featuring Black superheroes. He also thanks Justyce for his other “gift”: Doc, who’s now Quan’s teacher. Doc was annoying at first, but he’s pretty cool. He asks... (full context)
Choices vs. Fate Theme Icon
Justice, Racial Bias, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Quan is also writing to share something he and Doc talked about earlier. Doc brought the book Native Son for Quan to read. It’s brutal—it’s... (full context)
Choices vs. Fate Theme Icon
Justice, Racial Bias, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Violence Theme Icon
Quan and Doc discussed how Quan could relate to the story. Quan’s ex-counselor, for instance, thought that Quan... (full context)
Choices vs. Fate Theme Icon
Justice, Racial Bias, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Identity, Support, and Community Theme Icon
When Quan brought this up with Doc, Doc asked if Quan thought the protagonist of Native Son was a killer. Quan acknowledged... (full context)
March 12
Choices vs. Fate Theme Icon
Identity, Support, and Community Theme Icon
...up different had he made a positive connection instead of meeting Trey. Quan adds that Doc has really grown on him, and he wishes he’d met Doc sooner. (full context)
April 4
Choices vs. Fate Theme Icon
Justice, Racial Bias, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Identity, Support, and Community Theme Icon
Family, Loyalty, and Belonging Theme Icon
Quan writes that when Doc was here earlier, he mentioned that today’s the anniversary of MLK’s assassination, which made Quan... (full context)
April 24; Snapshot: A Postscript (Present Day)
Identity, Support, and Community Theme Icon
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...for asking so many questions in his last letter. But Quan has answers, since both Doc and Liberty have been asking him the same things. But first, some news: Quan will... (full context)
Identity, Support, and Community Theme Icon
Family, Loyalty, and Belonging Theme Icon
...The more Quan thinks and talks about it, the more frustrated he gets. For instance, Doc pushing him so hard makes him want to do well—but Quan feels great for five... (full context)
Identity, Support, and Community Theme Icon
Family, Loyalty, and Belonging Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Violence Theme Icon
...he felt he owed the gang a debt. (The interrogation was awful.) He says that Doc once asked if Quan was a killer. Back then, he couldn’t really answer. Now, he... (full context)
Chapter 8: Deal
Identity, Support, and Community Theme Icon
Family, Loyalty, and Belonging Theme Icon
Quan sits across from Doc, working on the final essay that will earn him his high school diploma. Doc tells... (full context)
Identity, Support, and Community Theme Icon
Family, Loyalty, and Belonging Theme Icon
...down at his paper, he’s written the questions he’s thinking about instead of his essay. Doc tells Quan to not worry about this essay, and Quan takes a deep breath. He... (full context)
May 18
Identity, Support, and Community Theme Icon
Family, Loyalty, and Belonging Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Violence Theme Icon
...more than he ever expected. Quan asks Justyce for advice. He’s sending this letter with Doc, since he knows Justyce is home from school now. Quan asks that Justyce respond promptly—he... (full context)
Snapshot: Two Boys, a Girl, a Teacher, a Lawyer, and a Case Management Intern in a Basement
Justice, Racial Bias, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Identity, Support, and Community Theme Icon
...this time, a “young (almost) man’s freedom is on the line.” Justyce thanks Attorney Friedman, Doc, Liberty, Jared, and SJ for coming. He lays out the facts: Quan has been incarcerated... (full context)
Family, Loyalty, and Belonging Theme Icon
Doc and Liberty say that Quan is loyal to a fault. When Attorney Friedman asks them... (full context)
Justice, Racial Bias, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...one else has thought of this. To Justyce, this seems like a done deal—but SJ, Doc, and Attorney Friedman point out that Quan confessed, and his confession is admissible in court.... (full context)
Chapter 9: Dawg
Justice, Racial Bias, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Identity, Support, and Community Theme Icon
Family, Loyalty, and Belonging Theme Icon
Quan is flipping through a volume of poetry that Doc gave him when a guard barks his name. It startles Quan so much he falls... (full context)
June 14
Family, Loyalty, and Belonging Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Violence Theme Icon
...family when he can’t. He transcribes a stanza from a Jason Reynolds poem (courtesy of Doc) that has stuck with him. It’s about needing rest, but it reminded Quan of what... (full context)
Snapshot: A Black Boy (and a White Boy) Visits a Black Man (and a White Boy)
Choices vs. Fate Theme Icon
Justice, Racial Bias, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Identity, Support, and Community Theme Icon
Family, Loyalty, and Belonging Theme Icon
...Martel wants the teacher who helped Quan get his diploma to tutor his boys. Hoping Doc will be cool with this, Justyce agrees. Then, Martel says that Quan can’t come back,... (full context)
Chapter 11: Debt
Identity, Support, and Community Theme Icon
Family, Loyalty, and Belonging Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Violence Theme Icon
Quan is certain Doc can tell he hasn’t been sleeping well. Doc is part of the problem: Quan shouldn’t... (full context)
Identity, Support, and Community Theme Icon
Doc asks if Quan has been talking to Tay. He hasn’t, but he says he has.... (full context)
Identity, Support, and Community Theme Icon
Family, Loyalty, and Belonging Theme Icon
It’s possible that Doc knows that what’s been keeping Quan awake is the envelope he received with one of... (full context)
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Identity, Support, and Community Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Violence Theme Icon
...to do. Suddenly, the door flies open. It’s Attorney Friedman, and she asks Quan and Doc to come with her. (full context)
Snapshot: Two Boys, an Attorney, a Teacher, and a Disgruntled Guard in a Conference Room
Identity, Support, and Community Theme Icon
...Justyce also makes Quan feel like he can breathe easier. Attorney Friedman invites Quan and Doc to sit. An image appears on a screen and Quan frantically thinks of how to... (full context)
Identity, Support, and Community Theme Icon
Family, Loyalty, and Belonging Theme Icon
...else is fighting a smile, but Quan is confused. He asks what this means, and Doc says that it looks like Quan is a step closer to freedom. (full context)
August 27
Justice, Racial Bias, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Identity, Support, and Community Theme Icon
Family, Loyalty, and Belonging Theme Icon
...Then, Quan just found out that because of budget cuts, he’ll only have lessons with Doc once every other week. Quan is trying to not be dramatic, but he feels like... (full context)
Chapter 12: Done
Identity, Support, and Community Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Violence Theme Icon
...five nights. Tonight, he’s dreaming of Justyce opening up Quan’s chest, frowning, and then telling Doc to shoot Quan. For the fifth night in a row, Quan’s eyes pop open, but... (full context)
Snapshot: Two Young Men on a New (To Them) Playground
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
...sighs. Months ago, Justyce shared the story behind the Exactum notice and the fact that Doc is now tutoring the gang members. Justyce works for the tutoring service without pay—but Quan... (full context)
Identity, Support, and Community Theme Icon
...parks close at 7 p.m. Right after his release, Quan spent a while living with Doc and his husband. This gave him a good amount of time to adjust to his... (full context)