The Sellout

by

Paul Beatty

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Foy Cheshire is an academic, “fading TV personality,” and the cofounder of the Dum Dum Donut Intellectuals. He is extraordinarily vain, and although his work centers around black people, he seems more interested in becoming rich and famous than fighting for racial equality. Furthermore, he explicitly tries to avoid confronting stereotypes and racism directly—thus taking the opposite approach to the narrator and the narrator’s father—by rewriting classic literature to remove any racial slurs or references to slavery. Foy stole the narrator’s father’s ideas and pretended they were his own, yet still called on the narrator’s father when he had a mental health crisis years later. Foy dislikes the narrator, who he calls “the sellout.” He believes that the narrator is on “the wrong side” because he embraces segregation, yet refuses to understand that the narrator is only doing this in an effort to bring back Dickens. At the end of the novel, Foy has another crisis and threatens to shoot himself, before ultimately shooting the narrator. He escapes prison time on grounds of insanity.

Foy Cheshire Quotes in The Sellout

The The Sellout quotes below are all either spoken by Foy Cheshire or refer to Foy Cheshire. 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:
Progress vs. Regress Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Picador edition of The Sellout published in 2015.
Chapter 7 Quotes

Those pompous Dum Dum niggers wanted to ban the word, disinvent the watermelon, snorting in the morning, washing your dick in the sink, and the eternal shame of having pubic hair the color and texture of unground pepper. That's the difference between most oppressed peoples of the world and American blacks. They vow never to forget, and we want everything expunged from our record, sealed and filed away for eternity. We want someone like Foy Cheshire to present our case to the world with a set of instructions that the jury will disregard centuries of ridicule and stereotype and pretend the woebegone niggers in front of you are starting from scratch.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), Foy Cheshire
Page Number: 98
Explanation and Analysis:
Closure Quotes

“Why are you waving the flag?” I asked him. “Why now? I’ve never seen you wave it before.” He said that he felt like the country, the United States of America, had finally paid off its debts. “And what about the Native Americans? What about the Chinese, the Japanese, the Mexicans, the poor, the forests, the water, the air, the fucking California condor? When do they collect?” I asked him.

He just shook his head at me. Said something to the effect that my father would be ashamed of me and that I'd never understand. And he's right. I never will.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), Foy Cheshire (speaker), The Narrator’s Father
Page Number: 289
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Sellout LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Sellout PDF

Foy Cheshire Character Timeline in The Sellout

The timeline below shows where the character Foy Cheshire appears in The Sellout. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3
Progress vs. Regress Theme Icon
Blackness, Origins, and Home Theme Icon
Stereotypes and Absurdity Theme Icon
...patrons looked on in horror. One of the first people to make a comment was Foy Cheshire, an assistant professor of urban studies at UC Brentwood whose first book was named... (full context)
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Blackness, Origins, and Home Theme Icon
Criminality, Authority, and the Law Theme Icon
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The narrator’s father quickly became friends with Foy, and the two cofounded the Dum Dum Donut Intellectuals. However, over the years Foy got... (full context)
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Blackness, Origins, and Home Theme Icon
Criminality, Authority, and the Law Theme Icon
Although the narrator’s father was an atheist, Foy nevertheless prays over his dead body, embracing it. Yet the narrator suspects that “deep down... (full context)
Chapter 7
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Stereotypes and Absurdity Theme Icon
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...Since the narrator’s father’s death, the Dum Dum Donut Intellectuals have essentially turned into a Foy Cheshire fan club. Foy complains that he recently tried to read Huckleberry Finn to his... (full context)
Blackness, Origins, and Home Theme Icon
...would become the next “lead thinker,” but the narrator declined and the role went to Foy instead. Foy calls the narrator “The Sellout,” never using his real name. At today’s meeting,... (full context)
Progress vs. Regress Theme Icon
Blackness, Origins, and Home Theme Icon
Stereotypes and Absurdity Theme Icon
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...uses to describe people who slip from corporate elegance to inner city “howling” at night. Foy chastises the narrator for not taking Mark Twain’s use of the n-word seriously, to which... (full context)
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Blackness, Origins, and Home Theme Icon
Gender, Sex, and Hypersexualization Theme Icon
...“problematic,” which the narrator thinks is the word black intellectuals use when they feel insecure. Foy tells the other members to respect “this sellout,” who is the son of the group’s... (full context)
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Blackness, Origins, and Home Theme Icon
Criminality, Authority, and the Law Theme Icon
The narrator announces that he is “bringing back the city of Dickens,” and everyone laughs. Foy turns over a nearby portrait of the narrator’s father and asks the narrator why he... (full context)
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Blackness, Origins, and Home Theme Icon
Stereotypes and Absurdity Theme Icon
Gender, Sex, and Hypersexualization Theme Icon
...plan for black Chinese restaurants and to “get some pussy” because he is too uptight. Foy enters and tells the narrator to ignore Cuz, because “pussy is overrated.” Foy hosts a... (full context)
Chapter 10
Blackness, Origins, and Home Theme Icon
Gender, Sex, and Hypersexualization Theme Icon
...heads.” Hominy then asks when they are going to get his Little Rascal films from Foy, and the narrator promises that they will once they get the city back. (full context)
Chapter 11
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Blackness, Origins, and Home Theme Icon
Stereotypes and Absurdity Theme Icon
Criminality, Authority, and the Law Theme Icon
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...to them. Charisma tells the narrator that the books were given to the school by Foy Cheshire under an initiative called “Fire the Canon!” in which he rewrote every book on... (full context)
Chapter 16
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Criminality, Authority, and the Law Theme Icon
Later that day, Foy Cheshire arrives to take photographs of the Wheaton Academy. He asks the narrator who is... (full context)
Chapter 17
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Blackness, Origins, and Home Theme Icon
Gender, Sex, and Hypersexualization Theme Icon
...it existed. The narrator then realizes that it was Marpessa who threw the satsuma at Foy. Marpessa boasts that she “hit that stupid motherfucker square in the face.” Although they’ve had... (full context)
Chapter 19
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Blackness, Origins, and Home Theme Icon
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There are only about ten people at the meeting. Foy has recently been in the news because his many children have decided to sue him... (full context)
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Blackness, Origins, and Home Theme Icon
Foy begins speaking, saying that he has a “secret weapon” he plans to use against the... (full context)
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Stereotypes and Absurdity Theme Icon
...his father’s picture from the wall and slips out. While he is untying his horse, Foy comes out and gives him a pitying look. The narrator asks Foy if he owns... (full context)
Chapter 22
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Criminality, Authority, and the Law Theme Icon
Gender, Sex, and Hypersexualization Theme Icon
...it blackface, just “acting.” The crowd settles down, and someone asks if it’s true that Foy Cheshire owns the rights to the Little Rascals movies. Hominy addresses the narrator as “master,”... (full context)
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The narrator sees a list of names of people who have checked out the ledger—including Foy’s. Hominy gets in the car and puts his arm around Butterfly’s shoulders. As they drive,... (full context)
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Hominy, Butterfly, and the narrator arrive at Foy’s house on Mulholland drive. The narrator correctly guesses that the passcode for the gate is... (full context)
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Back at Foy’s house, Butterfly and Hominy are skinny dipping in the pool. Hominy pretends he can’t swim,... (full context)
Chapter 23
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...Anglos allowed.” Hominy is at Chaff that day, having been invited to “tutor Jim Crow.” Foy is also there, on the side of the white children. He claims to have evidence... (full context)
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...rarely taught. Charisma asks: “When does shit ever end?” and the narrator replies: “It doesn’t.” Foy and his supporters begin to sing “We Shall Overcome.” Like most people, they only know... (full context)
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Foy then points the gun at himself, and with his free hand pours white paint over... (full context)
Chapter 25
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Blackness, Origins, and Home Theme Icon
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...He arrives home to find everyone in his den, watching Little Rascals movies with Hominy. Foy was cleared of attempted murder on grounds of insanity, but the narrator won the civil... (full context)
Closure
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On the day after “the black dude” was inaugurated, Foy drove around waving an American flag. The narrator asked him why, pointing out the ongoing... (full context)