Dear Justyce

Dear Justyce

by

Nic Stone

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Dwight Character Analysis

Dwight, the novel’s primary antagonist, is Mama’s abusive live-in boyfriend and Dasia and Gabe’s father. Though he’s not a big man, he’s powerful and violent—he regularly leaves Mama covered in bruises or in need of a wrist brace. His violence also extends to the children; Quan hides Dasia and Gabe in the closet to protect them, and the one time Quan attempted to intervene, Dwight through him into the dining table. In addition to his physical violence, Dwight uses fear, intimidation, and financial pressure to control Mama and the children. He constantly threatens violence, requires payment for any perceived offense, and even steals Mama’s EBT (food stamps) card, thereby taking control of whether or not the family eats. From conversations he overhears, Quan ascertains that Dwight believes Daddy left Mama money and that Mama is hiding it. Throughout the novel, Quan refuses to see Dwight as human. Instead, Quan thinks of Dwight as a Black version of Count Olaf, the antagonist of the A Series of Unfortunate Events novels. Once Martel catches wind of Dwight’s abuse, he has Dwight murdered. While this frees Mama from his abuse, Quan sees it as the end of his life as he knows it. With Dwight’s murder, Quan feels like he has no choice but to stay with Black Jihad and continue to demonstrate his loyalty.

Dwight Quotes in Dear Justyce

The Dear Justyce quotes below are all either spoken by Dwight or refer to Dwight. 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 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:
Chapter 3: Disrespect Quotes

So he told Mama—who for the first time wasn’t healing from a COAN encounter—that he was going out.

And he headed to his former favorite playground place.

Stepping over the latest evidence of unsavory activity inside his rocket ship (at least there wouldn’t be any babies or diseases?), Quan climbed up to the observation deck. Largely to hide himself from anyone who might take issue with/make fun of an almost-thirteen-year-old hanging out in the grounded space vessel.

But once he got up there, Quan relaxed so much, he fell asleep.

Related Characters: Quan Banks, Dwight, Mama
Related Symbols: The Rocket Ship
Page Number: 46
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 4: Defiance Quotes

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 Alone on a Run-Down Playground (2017) Quotes

Quan’s gaze drops. Lands on a word carved into one of the bench’s wooden slats in little-kid lettering:

F U K C

What are kids like Quan supposed to do?

He swipes at his dampening eyes and shifts them back to the black hole where his galactic getaway vehicle used to be.

Dwight is dead.

And Quan is here. Stuck. Grounded.

Forever.

No getting out.

No flying away.

No lifting off.

Because Dwight’s death wasn’t an accident.

Related Characters: Quan Banks, Martel, Dwight
Related Symbols: The Rocket Ship
Page Number: 106
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Dear Justyce LitChart as a printable PDF.
Dear Justyce PDF

Dwight Character Timeline in Dear Justyce

The timeline below shows where the character Dwight 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
...doesn’t think anyone’s following him, but he takes a circuitous route in case Mama’s boyfriend, Dwight, noticed Quan leave. Quan couldn’t stay to watch Dwight leave bruises on Mama. And Dwight... (full context)
Identity, Support, and Community Theme Icon
Family, Loyalty, and Belonging Theme Icon
...He feels like a corset is loosening from around his chest as he explains that Dwight is an “asshole,” even if he is the father of Mama’s other kids. Quan hates... (full context)
Chapter 1: Doomed
Justice, Racial Bias, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Family, Loyalty, and Belonging Theme Icon
...Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events and dreamed that the evil Count Olaf looked like Dwight. Suddenly, a big boom jolted Quan awake and terrified him. Police officers poured into the... (full context)
Justice, Racial Bias, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Identity, Support, and Community Theme Icon
Family, Loyalty, and Belonging Theme Icon
...was just a dream. He hoped that Mama would hear him and show up with Dwight, who could take Daddy’s place in the van. Finally, an old woman screamed at the... (full context)
Chapter 2: Downhill
Choices vs. Fate Theme Icon
Family, Loyalty, and Belonging Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Violence Theme Icon
...kids in the books, he’ll be 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... (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
...but he doesn’t know what to do—so he just “stays focused.” He stays focused when Dwight smashes things, when Mama asks Quan to get Dasia and Gabe ready for school, and... (full context)
Choices vs. Fate Theme Icon
Justice, Racial Bias, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Identity, Support, and Community Theme Icon
Quan sprints from the bus, knowing that Mama will be home (Dwight beat her up again last night, and she doesn’t go out when that’s obvious). But... (full context)
Chapter 3: Disrespect
Family, Loyalty, and Belonging Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Violence Theme Icon
The “First Time” Quan does “it,” he, Dasia, and Gabe are hungry. Dwight has been living with the family for a year and a half, and Mama hasn’t... (full context)
Justice, Racial Bias, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Family, Loyalty, and Belonging Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Violence Theme Icon
...relax. He accidentally falls asleep, and it’s dark when he wakes up. He sprints home. Dwight is gone, but Mama’s face is swollen and it doesn’t look like she can use... (full context)
Choices vs. Fate Theme Icon
Family, Loyalty, and Belonging Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Violence Theme Icon
Dwight is gone for more than a week, but Quan can’t feel happy about it because... (full context)
Chapter 4: Defiance
Choices vs. Fate Theme Icon
Identity, Support, and Community Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Violence Theme Icon
...Quan wets his pants and begins to cry. He knows Mama will be upset and Dwight will be impossible. Quan also wants to set a better example for Gabe. The cop... (full context)
Identity, Support, and Community Theme Icon
Family, Loyalty, and Belonging Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Violence Theme Icon
Quan knows that no matter how much Dwight hurts Mama, she won’t kick him out. He doesn’t understand why, but he does know... (full context)
Snapshot: A Boy Meeting a Man (2016)
Identity, Support, and Community Theme Icon
Family, Loyalty, and Belonging Theme Icon
...true. Martel asks Quan to talk about his home life, and Quan mentions Mama and Dwight. He shares almost everything. When Quan is finished, Martel shares how the “organization” works and... (full context)
Chapter 6: Disclose
Identity, Support, and Community Theme Icon
Family, Loyalty, and Belonging Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Violence Theme Icon
One night, as usual, Dwight goes on a drunken rampage. Quan hides Dasia and Gabe and has to flash his... (full context)
Family, Loyalty, and Belonging Theme Icon
...she’s going to say, but it still feels like a bomb when she says that Dwight’s dead. (full context)
Snapshot: A Boy Alone on a Run-Down Playground (2017)
Family, Loyalty, and Belonging Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Violence Theme Icon
Quan looks back to where the rocket ship once stood and knows he’s stuck. Dwight’s death wasn’t an accident, though Mama doesn’t know that. Before Quan came to the park,... (full context)
Chapter 7: Disaster
Identity, Support, and Community Theme Icon
Family, Loyalty, and Belonging Theme Icon
...determined to make this drop fast. While cleaning out the closet, Mama opened one of Dwight’s boxes and found packets of letters from Daddy to Quan. Daddy wrote over a hundred... (full context)
Survival, Poverty, and Violence Theme Icon
...come back and charge them with something random. Quan tries to control his breathing. Since Dwight’s death, Quan has been having “spells” where it’s hard to breathe and he feels convinced... (full context)
Chapter 11: Debt
Identity, Support, and Community Theme Icon
Family, Loyalty, and Belonging Theme Icon
...costs related to Quan’s family, like gas, groceries, medicine, and meals. Thankfully it didn’t mention Dwight, but the ledger still had a total and a one-word note: “Exactum.” This is the... (full context)