The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace

by

Jeffrey Hobbs

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Robert DeShaun Peace Character Analysis

Robert DeShaun Peace is the protagonist of the book. He’s born and raised in Newark, New Jersey, at a time when the city is quickly becoming one of the poorest and most dangerous places in the country. Even as a child, Robert is a complicated person. A brilliant student, he excels in school, but quickly realizes that his peers will call him a nerd unless he can “act tough.” Robert comes to learn the importance of “fronting”—being able to act a different way around different groups of people. Robert also struggles with his relationship with his father, Robert “Skeet” Douglas. He idolizes his father, even after his father is arrested and convicted of a double homicide. Partly a result, he grows into an angry, moody young man—but because he’s brilliant, and because he’s so adept at fronting, many of his closest friends don’t realize how much anger he feels. Robert attends Yale University, where he excels in class, even as he feels that the school is designed for “spoiled white people.” After graduating, Robert goes through a long, conflicted period during which he moves back to Newark, deals drugs, and—at the age of thirty—is murdered in a drug deal gone wrong. Ultimately, Jeff Hobbs presents Robert as a tragic character, in the classical sense: the qualities that have brought Robert so much success in life (his inventiveness, his ambition, and his ability to conceal the way he feels) are the same qualities that bring about his death.

Robert DeShaun Peace Quotes in The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace

The The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace quotes below are all either spoken by Robert DeShaun Peace or refer to Robert DeShaun Peace. 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:
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). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Scribner edition of The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace published in 2014.
Chapter 1 Quotes

Jackie and Rob would eat their snacks on the blanket (never on park benches, because stupefied addicts peed themselves on them), and she'd follow him closely over the jungle gym while her eyes searched always for nails or glass or older, rougher children who had no business on a toddler playground, anything that posed a threat to her boy.

Related Characters: Jeff Hobbs (speaker), Robert DeShaun Peace, Jackie Peace
Page Number: 18
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 3 Quotes

But still she saw the anger in him, a gradually thickening shade just behind the sometimes impenetrable veil of his eyes. She knew that any anger could be dangerous, and that this particular variety, seeded so deeply during Skeet's three years in jail awaiting trial—nearly a third of her son's life by the time it was finished—was especially destructive.

Page Number: 58
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 4 Quotes

'Wait, wait, wait, hold up," Rob said. 'You're getting served steak and lobster, getting to sleep in your own bedroom with your own bathroom and a maid—and you're starting shit over some words about shoes?" Rob made psha sound. "Don't be such a bitch, T."

Related Characters: Robert DeShaun Peace (speaker), Tavarus Hester
Page Number: 91
Explanation and Analysis:

After Rob called a faculty coordinator back in Newark to let him know they were okay, the homeowner asked if the boys wanted to stay in his garage until the storm let up. Rob declined; now that no one was going to be struck by lightning or washed down a mountainside, he wanted his group to get through this on their own.

Related Characters: Jeff Hobbs (speaker), Robert DeShaun Peace
Page Number: 96
Explanation and Analysis:

Now, in the spring of 1997, they were young men, leaders who had earned the right to strut the way they did. And three, ten, twenty years from now? On that night, they were confident, even arrogant, that they would rule the city of Newark.

Page Number: 101
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 5 Quotes

As Coach Ridley learned that early winter morning of 1998, Rob Peace was one of those students. All the anger Rob felt—at his father's imprisonment, his mother's weariness, his own poverty that tasted like ketchup packets—only seemed to fuel his merits as a scholar and leader, and hide itself behind those ever-rising attributes.

Page Number: 104
Explanation and Analysis:

Mr. Cawley took a dinner napkin with a phone number scrawled on it from his pocket, and he pressed it into Rob's hand. He said, “You can go to college wherever you want.”

Related Characters: Jeff Hobbs (speaker), Charles Cawley (speaker), Robert DeShaun Peace
Page Number: 114
Explanation and Analysis:

I learned over the course of our conversation that Rob had gone to a prep school, he "played a little water polo," and his favorite pastime was hiking the Appalachian Trail. Nothing he said shaded him as anything other than well-off and overeducated: a typical rarefied Yale applicant.

Related Characters: Jeff Hobbs (speaker), Robert DeShaun Peace
Page Number: 120
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 6 Quotes

I told him I'd grown up “near Philly,” when in fact I had grown up in an eighteenth-century farmhouse on fifteen acres of rolling rural hills in Chester County, thirty miles from the city. I consciously failed to mention that I'd attended private school beginning in prekindergarten, and that my parents, who had been married for almost thirty years, had invested their entire lives (not to mention their finances) into taking care of their four children, removing all uncertainty from our formative years.

Related Characters: Jeff Hobbs (speaker), Robert DeShaun Peace
Page Number: 131
Explanation and Analysis:

This word "fronting" was important to Rob. A coward who acted tough was fronting. A nerd who acted dumb was fronting. A rich kid who acted poor was fronting. Rob found the instinct very offensive, and in college he saw it all around. He felt as though people were in a constant state of role-play before teachers, before each other […]

Related Characters: Jeff Hobbs (speaker), Robert DeShaun Peace
Page Number: 139
Explanation and Analysis:

So what if it's annoying as hell? Instead of sitting around here bitching about it, maybe we just accept that it is what it is, and know that we have the capacity to get way more from them than they’ll ever get from us.

Related Characters: Robert DeShaun Peace (speaker)
Page Number: 147
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 7 Quotes

I was still struggling to equate the irritating but unremarkable encounter he'd described (I had doubtlessly forgotten to bus my own tray once or twice, though I didn't admit that now) with the profound anger still coursing through him, a few hours and a few joints later. I felt guilty for being unable to do so, for lacking the empathy required to connect a careless prep school slight to a fundamental flaw in the social construct in which we lived. All I said was, "That sucks, dude."

Related Characters: Jeff Hobbs (speaker), Robert DeShaun Peace
Page Number: 152
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 8 Quotes

Though he hid that anger well behind the grin and the laughter and the marijuana, Arthur felt it in the jokes Rob made to Laurel and others about their privileged upbringings, in his heavy quietude whenever socioeconomic topics came up in conversation, and in his general disdain of Yale and Yalies. Arthur saw a closed-mindedness that was, he felt, self-propagating and innately limiting. More broadly, he believed these qualities explained precisely how an intelligent guy like Rob would always make life harder on himself than it needed to be.

Related Characters: Jeff Hobbs (speaker), Robert DeShaun Peace, Arthur Turpin
Page Number: 195
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 10 Quotes

Whenever that word, “Yale,” was uttered, even in the lightest way possible, Rob did what he could to undermine its connotation. An exchange might begin with someone saying, "I still don't believe a punkass like you went to no Yale; you're just lying" and Rob would shake his head with a doleful smile and say, “Yeah. I did that shit.”

Related Characters: Robert DeShaun Peace (speaker)
Page Number: 233
Explanation and Analysis:

Later, Rob told Curtis, "The man's like a dog. You can't blame a dog for eating up a steak if you leave the steak on the floor."

Related Characters: Robert DeShaun Peace (speaker), Curtis Gamble, Carl
Page Number: 237
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 11 Quotes

Oswaldo's advice was the same that, a few years ago, he himself had refused to hear from others: "Get the fuck out of Newark. Get the fuck away from people who won't get the fuck out of Newark."

Related Characters: Oswaldo Gutierrez (speaker), Robert DeShaun Peace
Page Number: 261
Explanation and Analysis:

As a financial master, Mr. Cawley looked at the world in terms of investments, of risk and reward. In 1998, the "investment" in Rob had struck him on paper as one of the lowest-risk and the highest-return; he saw no possible downside in giving this rare boy the slight push (Yale's four-year tuition of $140,000 being slight for a bank CEO worth nine figures) he needed to reach the pinnacle for which he was already headed. Almost a decade later, as Rob broke off eye contact to gaze down at the floor as if there were a pit between them, Mr. Cawley understood that a life wasn't lived on paper.

Related Characters: Jeff Hobbs (speaker), Robert DeShaun Peace, Charles Cawley
Page Number: 282
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 12 Quotes

"I don't need you to," she replied. "I never have. Don't you go worrying about me. Take care of yourself. I just want you happy foremost, and I want you around if it works that way. I want you settled."

Related Characters: Jackie Peace (speaker), Robert DeShaun Peace
Page Number: 305
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 15 Quotes

And Rob left, rolling his eyes like this scene was just part of a comedy in which he was the focal point of the farcical behavior of those around him. And Oswaldo understood now with a clarity he'd never had before that all of Rob's troubles were self-inflicted—that on Yale graduation day Rob had stood within reach of everything he now didn't have.

Related Characters: Jeff Hobbs (speaker), Robert DeShaun Peace, Oswaldo Gutierrez
Page Number: 316
Explanation and Analysis:

Her son made sense with numbers. He always had. And now he was thirty years old, taking her through the tiers of retirement benefits. She wished that these calculations hadn't always been so challenging, not in terms of the math but its implications. She knew that he wished the same thing. But she didn't fix any anger, as her son did, to that wish. She'd entertained many such wishes during the course of her life and had long since accepted the reality that very few of them would come true. She'd wished that Skeet had been innocent. She'd wished for jackpots with each crank of an Atlantic City slot machine.

Page Number: 367
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 16 Quotes

She parked and placed one foot in front of the other until she stood in the cold, metallic room that smelled of chemicals, and watched the coroner fold the white sheet down from her son's face. She nodded and said, “Yeah, that's Shawn, that's my son.” From there, she drove straight to work.

Related Characters: Jeff Hobbs (speaker), Jackie Peace (speaker), Robert DeShaun Peace
Page Number: 384
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 17 Quotes

And yet they still rendered the predictable media spin of potential squandered, the gift of education sacrificed to the allure of thug life, etc., not only simplistic but offensively so.

Related Characters: Jeff Hobbs (speaker), Robert DeShaun Peace
Page Number: 386
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace LitChart as a printable PDF.

Robert DeShaun Peace Character Timeline in The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace

The timeline below shows where the character Robert DeShaun Peace appears in The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
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...June night in 1980, a woman named Jackie Peace carries a new baby boy named Robert DeShaun Peace. Jackie has just left the hospital, and she and her baby, along with... (full context)
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...has just lost her job and moved back in with her parents. She first meets Robert “Skeet” Douglas through her family friend, Carl. Carl introduces Jackie to his friend Skeet—a fast-talking,... (full context)
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After Jackie gives birth to Robert, Skeet complains that Jackie spoils her baby. Skeet is also frustrated with Jackie for not... (full context)
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...shut down or relocate. Unemployment and crime rise. These trends continue throughout the 1980s, when Robert is born. While Robert is growing up, East Orange contains the second-highest concentration of black... (full context)
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Jackie takes great care to raise Robert right. She reads books to him, and notices that he excels at reading when he’s... (full context)
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By the time Robert is four years old, Jackie has decided that she wants to move to a new... (full context)
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Robert begins kindergarten at the local elementary school. Jackie wanted to send him to a private... (full context)
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As Robert grows older, he spends more time with Skeet. Robert clearly worships Skeet, and Skeet introduces... (full context)
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...evening, she proceeds to take care of her child as usual. Late at night, after Robert falls asleep, she gets a call explaining that Skeet has been arrested for killing two... (full context)
Chapter 2
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Meanwhile, Robert spends his time playing football, and quickly makes a name for himself. Robert has always... (full context)
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A few days before Robert starts the first grade, Jackie tells her son the truth about Skeet: he’s in jail... (full context)
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In the midst of the preparation for Skeet’s trial, Jackie takes Robert to the Essex County jail. She’s been in regular contact with Skeet, who continues to... (full context)
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Robert begins the school year, and he starts to behave violently. He has a fistfight with... (full context)
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The trial proceeds. In the winter of 1990, Robert is called to testify before Thomas Lechliter, regarding whether “the death penalty would be sought.”... (full context)
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Robert proceeds with his schooling. Sometimes, one of his classmates will tell him that his father... (full context)
Chapter 3
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Robert begins attending Mt. Carmel Elementary School, a Catholic school where most of the students are... (full context)
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From the beginning, Robert stands out at Mt. Carmel. He’s a big kid, and he gets straight A’s. However,... (full context)
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Shortly after Skeet is convicted, Jackie buys Robert a copy of the A volume of the Encyclopedia Britannica. Jackie is worried that Skeet’s... (full context)
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While Robert is growing up, Newark is going through important changes. One in three people in Newark... (full context)
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Robert is one of the many black youths in Newark who idolizes Sharpe James. In the... (full context)
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As Robert grows up, he sees how hard his mother works to put him through school. He... (full context)
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In school, Robert loves to read. But his greatest passions are math and science. He’s so good at... (full context)
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Robert faces many challenges while growing up. His good grades lead some students to call him... (full context)
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In the seventh grade, Robert makes a new friend—a student named Victor Raymond. Victor’s parents have died of illness, and... (full context)
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Jackie and Robert visit Skeet in Trenton State prison. The prison is a frightening place, and Jackie comes... (full context)
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...job at the University Hospital. This means that she has no choice but to pull Robert out of Mt. Carmel and send him back to Oakdale. Robert begins giving all of... (full context)
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...job is a demotion from her previous post, but she makes enough money to send Robert back to Mt. Carmel. Meanwhile, Robert begins drinking and smoking marijuana. Some men in the... (full context)
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Robert continues to spend a lot of time with his friend Victor Raymond. Victor notices that... (full context)
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Robert tells Jackie that he wants to attend St. Benedict’s Prep, a Catholic school with a... (full context)
Chapter 4
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In the summer of 1994, Robert arrives at St. Benedict’s to begin the “Summer Phase” of school. His new classmates are... (full context)
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Robert and his classmates proceed with a full course-load, followed by athletics and group bonding activities.... (full context)
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...including two books—Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and William Faulkner’s A Light in August—that Robert has already read for fun. However, Robert acquires a reputation for knowing complicated rap lyrics—“a... (full context)
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...families. But after the Newark riots of 1967, the student body became predominately black. During Robert’s time at St. Benedict’s, the headmaster is a twenty-four-year-old named Friar Edwin Leahy. Leahy believes... (full context)
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At St Benedict’s, there are fencing, water polo, and chess teams, but no football. Robert and Victor apply to play football for Orange High School. Every day, they catch the... (full context)
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By halfway through his freshman year, it’s become clear that Robert is a brilliant student. This surprises some people, who think of him as a tough... (full context)
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Robert meets with Wayne Ridley, the St. Benedict’s swim coach, and says that he wants to... (full context)
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During his time on the swim team freshman year, Robert makes four close friends. Drew Jewison is from a middle-class suburb outside of Newark. Julius... (full context)
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...Early on in the retreat, Tavarus starts a fistfight with another student. Furious, he calls Robert and complains: apparently, another student made fun of his shoes. Robert laughs and replies, “You’re... (full context)
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When Tavarus comes back to school in the fall, Robert notices that he seems calmer and more eager to do well in school. In fact,... (full context)
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During his sophomore year, Robert joins the water polo team with his four friends. Water polo is a popular sport... (full context)
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One day, Curtis tells Robert that a big fight is going on between kids from Central High and St. Benedict’s.... (full context)
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...of the Central / St. Benedict’s fight, there are rumors that Friar Leahy will resign. Robert and his friends have a private meeting with Leahy in which they beg him not... (full context)
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During the hike, a storm breaks out, and many of the freshmen become scared. Robert stays calm and orders his freshmen to stick together. Moving fast, Robert leads the freshmen... (full context)
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In the fall of Robert’s junior year, a new student named Hrvoje Dundovic comes to St. Benedicts. Hrvoje is originally... (full context)
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That fall, the water polo team does well. Robert is one of the top athletes on both the swim team and the water polo... (full context)
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At the end of their junior year, Robert and his friends walk to a dance at Columbia High. The dance is boring, and... (full context)
Chapter 5
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...morning during senior year, Coach Ridley goes to the St. Benedict’s pool, where he finds Robert lifeguarding as usual. Ridley has planned this meeting to ask Robert about his drug use.... (full context)
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Coach Ridley comes to realize the truth: Robert comes from a “difficult family life,” like most of his classmates—but unlike these other classmates,... (full context)
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Early in his senior year, Robert is elected “group leader”—essentially, president of his class. Around the same time, Robert spends lots... (full context)
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Unbeknownst to any of his friends in school, Robert has spent much of the last two years conducting research for Skeet’s legal appeal. Late... (full context)
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...walking through the streets. Jackie is worried that Skeet will be a bad influence on Robert. She sleeps very little, and works long hours to support Robert’s education. The additional stress... (full context)
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Robert struggles with having Skeet back in his life. Skeet almost never leaves the house, but... (full context)
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One spring evening in 1998, Robert and Victor are sharing a joint. Robert has applied to Yale, Penn, Columbia, and Johns... (full context)
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...the seniors attend their senior banquet. Other attendees include Charles Cawley, the CEO of MBNA. Robert gives the keynote address for the evening, and Cawley is struck by Robert’s confidence. Friar... (full context)
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At the end of the evening, Cawley greets Robert and congratulates him on his success. He says, “You can go to college wherever you... (full context)
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Robert isn’t sure where to go to college. He likes Johns Hopkins, partly because he believes... (full context)
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During the summer of 1998, Robert enjoys a “last hurrah” before going off to school. Most of his friends are going... (full context)
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In August, Robert receives a letter, which begins, “Dear Robert, looks like we’re going to be roommates.” The... (full context)
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A few weeks before starting college, Jeff misses a call from Robert. He calls back, and Jackie picks up the phone. Confused at first, she realizes who’s... (full context)
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At the beginning of September, Robert spends a full day visiting his friends before he leaves for Yale. Skeet is still... (full context)
Chapter 6
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Jeff Hobbs walks into his new home, Lanman-Wright Hall, with his parents. He meets Robert, who’s carrying a single duffel bag. The two freshmen shake hands, and Robert respectfully greets... (full context)
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...Jeff’s things into his dorm room. Every time Jeff returns to the dorm, he sees Robert and Jackie sitting there, silent. Then, Jeff says a slightly tearful goodbye to his parents,... (full context)
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Meanwhile, Jeff and Robert’s other two roommates arrive: Dan Murray, a preppy “white guy from Seattle,” and Ty Cantey,... (full context)
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...a big “celebration of freedom.” Teenagers binge drink, dance, and have sex. Jeff notices that Robert is very neat and doesn’t talk much. (full context)
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...rap and since, as a national-caliber hurdler, many of his teammates are black. Jeff tells Robert that he’s grown up “near Philly,” even though this is a big exaggeration. He makes... (full context)
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Early on in his relationship with Robert, Jeff asks him what his father does. Robert calmly replies that his father is in... (full context)
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...group, a fifth grew up below the poverty line. Throughout freshman year, Jeff’s impression of Robert is that he’s very quiet and very good at concealing details about his life back... (full context)
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In the fall semester, Robert meets a young woman named Zina. She’s a senior from Jamaica, and she and Robert... (full context)
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...As part of this Yale tradition, each freshman’s roommates arrange a date for the evening. Robert, much to Jeff’s relief, has taken his responsibility very seriously. He goes over some options... (full context)
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Robert also confesses that he’s trying to “screw” Ty by setting him up with an unattractive... (full context)
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Just before Thanksgiving, it’s time for Yale Parents’ Weekend. Robert has plans to head back to Newark for a few days. During his time back... (full context)
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That evening, Robert walks home. He passes by Valisburg Park, one of the city’s main sites for buying... (full context)
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...if the world is big and complex, his own life is simple and secure. For Robert, marijuana plays a similar role: it allows him to relax and understand that nothing has... (full context)
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Robert spends at least four hours a day getting high with his friends off-campus. He likes... (full context)
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Robert values his time in the Weed Shack partly because it allows him to air his... (full context)
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As final exam season begins, Robert begins selling weed to his classmates. (full context)
Chapter 7
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It’s the winter of Robert’s sophomore year. The second half of freshman year has been uneventful: Jeff and his roommates... (full context)
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One night, Jeff wanders into the room and greets Robert. Robert mutters, “I just hate all these entitled motherfuckers.” Robert later explains to Jeff the... (full context)
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Robert no longer makes a secret of his drug dealing. He sells weed from his room,... (full context)
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In general, Robert has many friends at Yale. He’s seems to enjoy meeting new people. Many of his... (full context)
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During sophomore year, Robert “saves” Jeff twice. The first time, Jeff gets in a fistfight with a big, drunk... (full context)
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Robert begins to study Molecular Biophysics and Biology, one of the hardest majors at Yale. He... (full context)
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Although Oswaldo is one of Robert’s best friends, he doesn’t approve of Robert’s drug dealing. He criticizes Robert for selling out... (full context)
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One night sophomore year, Robert comes back to his dorm, along with Victor, with a big welt on his forehead.... (full context)
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Junior year, Jeff, Ty, and Robert have moved off campus to live in their own apartment. Tavarus and Julius come to... (full context)
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As Robert goes through college, he falls in love with travel. He goes to Costa Rica after... (full context)
Chapter 8
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In February of Junior year, Robert goes to speak with the master of Pierson College. The meeting is short, with the... (full context)
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At the end of his junior year, Robert begins receiving mysterious emails that say things like, “We are watching you.” Robert has been... (full context)
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...2001, senior year begins. Jeff vividly remembers sitting in his dorm room with Ty and Robert, watching the collapse of the Twin Towers. Robert spends the evening at Anwar Reed’s house.... (full context)
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...of 9/11, Jeff recalls, many Yale students dive deeper into hedonism. One night, Jeff and Robert drive north to go to a casino. Robert plays blackjack late into the night. In... (full context)
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As senior year goes on, science majors prepare to take the MCAT. Surprisingly, Robert says he won’t be taking the test. Unbeknownst to Jeff, Robert has netted over $100,000... (full context)
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One night, Jeff and Robert talk about their futures. Jeff plucks up the courage to ask Robert about his father,... (full context)
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As spring rolls around, Jeff and Ty realize that they’ve never seen Robert play water polo, even though he’s captain of his team. The two roommates attend one... (full context)
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Robert prepares for the defining ritual of the Elihu society—the “bio.” All senior members of the... (full context)
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Jeff isn’t sure what Robert plans to do following graduation. He visits Robert in East Orange in the spring. Jeff... (full context)
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Yale graduation is a two-day process, during which Robert smokes a lot of marijuana. After the speeches, Robert takes Jackie to a cocktail party... (full context)
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The next morning, after a night of partying, Jeff wakes up and packs his things. Robert isn’t in his dorm, so Jeff leaves without saying goodbye. Jeff reasons that he and... (full context)
Chapter 9
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Robert spends the summer after Yale working as a custodian. While cleaning out dorms, he discovers... (full context)
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Robert spends the summer living with his friend Raquel Diaz, who’s stressed about her future. Robert... (full context)
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...and lived alone for the first time in her life. She’s also confused about what Robert plans to do with his future. However, Robert is a good son, and always leaves... (full context)
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Dealing weed has become more complicated for Robert, for the simple reason that he’s now a Yale graduate. He travels down to Newark,... (full context)
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In August 2002, Jeff visits Robert, still living at Yale. Robert tells Jeff that he’s planning on traveling to Rio in... (full context)
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Around the same time, many of Robert’s Yale friends are beginning fellowships at elite graduate programs. Many of Robert’s childhood friends, however,... (full context)
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Robert has one short-term goal: launder the money he’s made dealing drugs. In reality, Robert probably... (full context)
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On Valentine’s Day 2003, Robert leaves for Rio. He leaves his drugs and money with Carl, in a padlocked trunk.... (full context)
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As the vacation goes on, two of Robert’s Yale friends pass through Rio and stay with him, and they all go out dancing... (full context)
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Robert returns to Newark in April, a few weeks earlier than planned. The reason he returns... (full context)
Chapter 10
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Shortly after the events of the previous chapter, Robert approaches Coach Ridley about joining the faculty at St. Benedict’s. The summer of 2003 has... (full context)
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Friar Leahy has been paying close attention to Robert since Robert has come back to Newark. Because of his experience as a teacher, he’s... (full context)
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One night, Robert is relaxing with his friends, including Julius and Tavarus, in a friend-of-a-friend’s house. The host... (full context)
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That summer, Jeff emails Robert, but the email bounces back. He calls his old house on Chapman street, but gets... (full context)
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Jeff doesn't realize that, just a few days before he calls Robert, one of Robert’s weed suppliers pulls a gun on him during a price negotiation. Robert... (full context)
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Robert is a good teacher at St. Benedict’s. He has no problem telling students when they’re... (full context)
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Robert buys a house for himself near Chapman Street. Jackie is confused: Robert is making even... (full context)
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Oswaldo Gutierrez comes down to Newark to help Robert fix up his new house. The house is old and dilapidated, but Robert seems proud... (full context)
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Robert contacts his old friend Hrvoje, who played water polo for the University of Vermont. They... (full context)
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In the winter of 2005, Skeet begins to notice that Robert asks him for advice. Robert is keeping tenants in his house, and he finds it... (full context)
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...fiancé visit the Penn Relays, a popular sporting event in Philadelphia, and meet up with Robert, Ty Cantey, and some other Yale friends. Jeff notices that both of his roommates seem... (full context)
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...all the joys and frustrations of their mid-twenties. Their lives are changing quickly. Strangely, though, Robert’s life seems not to be changing at all. He still lives in Newark, hangs out... (full context)
Chapter 11
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...married to Rebecca. On a Friday, he drives down to Newark to get lunch with Robert, who’s going to be one of his groomsmen. They have a long, drunken lunch, during... (full context)
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Both Robert and Ty are groomsmen at Jeff’s wedding. The former roommates have a great time drinking... (full context)
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One night, Robert, Victor, and Big Steve, Victor’s older brother, are discussing Robert’s decision to deal drugs. Big... (full context)
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Why doesn’t Robert just leave Newark? Hobbs asks. To begin with, he’s loyal to his family. Furthermore, he... (full context)
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...Raquel Diaz is living in New York while her soon-to-be husband is in medical school. Robert visits her all the time, usually bringing weed. He also visits Rio a few more... (full context)
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In his spare-time, Robert works on a new appeal for his father, this time on medical grounds. He writes... (full context)
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Friar Leahy senses that something is wrong in Robert’s life. But, just as he’s always done, Robert conceals his emotions. He works intensely with... (full context)
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Robert finds it hard to deal drugs in Newark, because it’s hard to find good marijuana.... (full context)
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Robert spends a lot of time visiting Skeet in prison. It becomes clear to him that... (full context)
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As the 2006-2007 school year begins at St. Benedict’s, Robert begins to plan a career in real estate. He thinks that he can make money... (full context)
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One night, Robert is growing marijuana in his basement when he gets word from Tavarus that Boobie, a... (full context)
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The following spring will be Robert’s last at St. Benedict’s. He’s informed Friar Leahy that he’ll be taking time to travel... (full context)
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Robert never applies to a single graduate school. Instead, he focuses his attention on real estate.... (full context)
Chapter 12
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Robert works at Newark International Airport, wearing an orange uniform that reminds him of his father’s... (full context)
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While working at the airport, Robert continues to plan his real estate career. He researches properties in Cleveland and Florida, most... (full context)
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That year, Jeff talks to Robert just a few times. Robert doesn’t say much about his life. Jeff conceals the facts... (full context)
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Robert has always had success with dating women. But in the mid-2000s, he begins to become... (full context)
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Robert begins dating Inayra Sideros, Raquel Diaz’s aunt. “Ina” is only a year older than Raquel... (full context)
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Robert uses his airport job to travel for free. He makes “business trips” to Liberty City... (full context)
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In March 2008, Robert attends the birthday of Tavarus’s son. Lately, Robert has been away from Newark for weeks... (full context)
Chapter 13
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One night, Robert and his old friend Hrvoje meet in a bar. Hrvoje asks Robert about his life,... (full context)
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Robert goes to Pula, Croatia, Hrvoje’s hometown. There, he meets Lana Kasun, a Croatian woman, and... (full context)
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In the fall of 2008, Robert approaches Ina with an idea: Ina can get her gun license, buy handguns, and then... (full context)
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Around the same time, Robert gets a promotion at work. The work allows him to sit at a desk, and... (full context)
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Jeff and Ty get together and reminisce about college. They admit they haven’t heard from Robert in a long time. Ty and Jeff have had their share of successes and failures.... (full context)
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Robert and Tavarus keep planning their real estate company. They envision convincing some St. Benedict’s alumni... (full context)
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Robert gets a visit from an old Yale classmate, Isabella Peretzian, who used to spend a... (full context)
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Robert begins dating a woman named Rene Millien. Rene lives in Brooklyn and works as a... (full context)
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It’s November 2010, and Robert is busy at the airport. One day, he makes a huge mistake: while disengaging the... (full context)
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In August 2010, Jeff gets a Facebook message from Robert. At this time, Jeff and Rebecca have had a baby daughter, and they’re badly in... (full context)
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Meanwhile, Jackie becomes increasingly saddened by Robert’s path in life. Robert leaves money for her, but he seems worn-out and depressed. He... (full context)
Chapter 14
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Robert begins applying for graduate schools, beginning by writing his statement of purpose. In this essay,... (full context)
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Robert sends his essay to Isabella Peretzian to edit. Isabella offers a few comments, most notably... (full context)
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While he’s applying to school, Robert needs to get a job. Following Oswaldo’s advice, he cuts his dreadlocks, buys a suit,... (full context)
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That fall, Robert drinks a lot and spends more time than usual with his high school friends. He... (full context)
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At the end of 2010, Robert gets a job working for a drug dealer named Amin. Amin has several business fronts... (full context)
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Robert’s friends warn him not to get “in too deep” with Amin. As the year goes... (full context)
Chapter 15
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Robert, Julius, Tavarus, Drew, and Curtis sit together, planning their next move. Curtis has just made... (full context)
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Robert calls Oswaldo to ask for some money. Oswaldo agrees to give him the money, but... (full context)
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According to the plan, Robert is going to convert the marijuana into top-quality “Sour Diesel” by treating it with butane.... (full context)
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In April, Robert and Ina talk on the phone. Ina is stationed on a naval base in California,... (full context)
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As Robert treats the marijuana, he comes to realize how much work is still ahead of him.... (full context)
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Robert visits Rene in Brooklyn. Rene is a talented artist, and she’s been supporting herself for... (full context)
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Robert recruits four drug mules to sell his product. The weed sells quickly, almost a pound... (full context)
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As time goes on, Robert begins carrying a handgun. Amin and the Double II Set gang learn from Kamar that... (full context)
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While Robert tries to straighten things out, he spends time with Jackie. Jackie is contemplating retiring soon.... (full context)
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By the middle of May, Robert thinks that the danger from the Double II Set gang has subsided. Nevertheless, he continues... (full context)
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Later in May, Robert drives to visit his old Yale friend Sherman Feerick. Sherman has become a successful consultant,... (full context)
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Two days after visiting Sherman, Robert is back in Newark. He spends the evening watching TV with Curtis. Instead of going... (full context)
Chapter 16
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Immediately following the events of the previous chapter, Curtis hears Robert open the door and say, “Ah, shit!” Two or three men walk into the house,... (full context)
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...But he sees a man keeping watch, and quietly backs away from the door. Meanwhile, Robert and the other men are still yelling in the basement. Curtis knows that these men... (full context)
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Curtis goes to the closet to pull out the gun Robert has been carrying around lately. Curtis has never fired a weapon before, but he’s prepared... (full context)
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...An elderly neighbor shouts that she’s called the police. Curtis rushes back inside, to find Robert on the basement floor, bleeding profusely. (full context)
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...sound of Julius knocking on her door. Tearfully, Julius explains that something has happened to Robert. Eerily calm, Jackie nods, and then drives to Robert’s house, following Julius. The police won’t... (full context)
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By the next next day, the police have raided Robert’s house and confiscated all the drugs inside. The house that used to be full of... (full context)
Chapter 17
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On May 19, just one day after Robert’s death, Jeff notices that he’s received a new Facebook message. Victor Raymond informs him that... (full context)
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The night before Robert’s funeral, Jeff and some Yale friends go out drinking. The next day, tired and hung... (full context)
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Jeff and some of his friends speak briefly about how they knew Robert. Jeff mentions being Robert’s roommate, and how much he enjoyed Robert’s big grin. Raquel Diaz... (full context)
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Jackie has requested that Robert’s high school friends, including Julius and Drew (Curtis is still in prison) stay away from... (full context)
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When the local paper posts an online story about Robert’s murder, the comments section is insensitive and hotly divided. Some people express sympathy for Robert,... (full context)
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Charles Cawley hears of Robert’s death, and is immediately shocked, saddened, and angry. He thinks about the choices Robert made... (full context)
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...funeral expenses. To her fury, many of the elite Yale students who bought weed from Robert ignore her or refuse to donate money due to the nature of Robert’s death. (full context)
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In the years following Robert’s death, very little changes in Newark. Drugs are sold throughout Robert’s old neighborhood, and crime... (full context)
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On what would have been Robert’s thirty-first birthday, Raquel and Rene visit Jackie. They provide her with nearly five thousand dollars... (full context)
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Late that night, Robert’s old friends gather together and release tiny paper lanterns into the night. The lanterns float... (full context)