The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace

Robert “Skeet” Douglas Character Analysis

Skeet is the father of Robert Peace, and one of the most ambiguous characters in the entire book. A brilliant, fast-talking man, Skeet is clearly a role model for the young Robert, and clearly he loves Robert deeply. But when Robert is still a young child, Skeet is arrested and convicted of a double homicide. Hobbs never gives his own opinion about this crime—he never says with certainty that Skeet is innocent or guilty (although he does note the corruption and racism of the Newark police force). What’s certain is that Skeet’s absence (he spends the rest of his life in jail) hurts Robert, and leaves him lonely, frightened, and angry—both with the world and with himself.

Robert “Skeet” Douglas 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 “Skeet” Douglas or refer to Robert “Skeet” Douglas. 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:
“Fronting” Theme Icon
). 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

As he did so, his confidence grew that not only would this evidence lead to a conviction, but also that a conviction would represent justice in the world. In other words, the defendant was guilty. He did not overlook the many loose ends presented within the story: the single witness who had been inebriated, strung out, severely overtired, and hungover at the time of the murders, and who had identified a suspect, by voice only, whom she had encountered once in her life and never spoken to directly; the very odd time lapse between when the murder was said to have taken place—seven thirty—and when Georgianna's roommate had first called the police two hours later …

Related Characters: Jeff Hobbs (speaker), Robert “Skeet” Douglas, Thomas Lechliter, Georgianna Broadway
Page Number: 39
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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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.

Related Characters: Jeff Hobbs (speaker), Robert DeShaun Peace, Jackie Peace, Robert “Skeet” Douglas
Page Number: 58
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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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.

Related Characters: Jeff Hobbs (speaker), Robert DeShaun Peace, Jackie Peace, Robert “Skeet” Douglas, Coach Wayne Ridley
Page Number: 104
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Chapter 15 Quotes

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.

Related Characters: Jeff Hobbs (speaker), Robert DeShaun Peace, Jackie Peace, Robert “Skeet” Douglas
Page Number: 367
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Robert “Skeet” Douglas Character Timeline in The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace

The timeline below shows where the character Robert “Skeet” Douglas 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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...At home, she passes the baby around to her parents and siblings. She wonders where Skeet, the baby’s father, might be. (full context)
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In 1979, Jackie—aged thirty—meets Skeet. Jackie has just lost her job and moved back in with her parents. She first... (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 marrying... (full context)
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...poverty line in the country. Violent crime is alarmingly high, and crack cocaine use rises. Skeet continues to ask Jackie to marry him, but she refuses, partly because she’s afraid of... (full context)
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...to him, and notices that he excels at reading when he’s only two years old. Skeet is appalled that Jackie spends so much time reading to Robert. He thinks that his... (full context)
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To save money, Jackie finally begins to consider moving in with Skeet. Skeet is thirty-eight years old at the time, and has never been involved in any... (full context)
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...be fine. Jackie finds affordable Catholic schools in the city, and suggests that she and Skeet split the tuition. Skeet agrees. (full context)
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As Robert grows older, he spends more time with Skeet. Robert clearly worships Skeet, and Skeet introduces him to boxing and rap music, neither of... (full context)
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...9, 1987, Jackie gets a call from Frances, explaining that the police are looking for Skeet. Jackie becomes nervous. But that evening, she proceeds to take care of her child as... (full context)
Chapter 2
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Five days have passed, and Skeet is in jail. Jackie goes to visit him. She doesn’t know anything about the crime... (full context)
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...football, and quickly makes a name for himself. Robert has always enjoyed playing sports with Skeet. Now, some of Robert’s friends ask where his dad has gone. Robert doesn’t know—Jackie can’t... (full context)
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...few days before Robert starts the first grade, Jackie tells her son the truth about Skeet: he’s in jail for murder. Robert doesn’t ask any questions—he just asks how soon Skeet... (full context)
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...into the Moore sisters’ building complex (where Estella, Georgianna, and Charlene were sleeping), Mervin passed Skeet, who was sitting outside. Skeet followed Mervin into the building. (full context)
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...which was just a few blocks away from the Moore sisters’ place. Georgianna claimed that Skeet had shot her. On further questioning, she admitted she hadn’t seen Skeet’s face, but insisted... (full context)
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Thomas Lechliter quickly convinces himself that Skeet is guilty. However, he recognizes that there are many loose ends in the story. Georgianna... (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... (full context)
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Skeet prepares for his trial by working with the public defender he’s been assigned. Later in... (full context)
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In March of 1989, Skeet is finally appointed a public defender. The pretrial hearings begin in September. After months, the... (full context)
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...proceeds with his schooling. Sometimes, one of his classmates will tell him that his father Skeet is a “hero” for committing murder, and he seems to take pride in hearing this.... (full context)
Chapter 3
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After three years in prison, Skeet proceeds with his trial. The trial itself lasts only one week. Lechliter accuses Skeet of... (full context)
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...Georgianna’s testimony—in particular, they find it odd that Georgianna is so sure the murderer is Skeet, considering she didn’t see his face. The jurors are also uncomfortable with the image of... (full context)
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After the sentence, Skeet is given the opportunity to make a statement. He delivers a long, articulate speech about... (full context)
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Shortly after Skeet is convicted, Jackie buys Robert a copy of the A volume of the Encyclopedia Britannica.... (full context)
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Jackie and Robert visit Skeet in Trenton State prison. The prison is a frightening place, and Jackie comes to dread... (full context)
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...smoking marijuana. Some men in the neighborhood—especially Carl, who Robert considers his “uncle”—know that he’s Skeet’s son and offer him drugs and alcohol all the time. (full context)
Chapter 5
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...friends in school, Robert has spent much of the last two years conducting research for Skeet’s legal appeal. Late at night, he reads legal textbooks, trying to find record of a... (full context)
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After the judge throws out Skeet’s indictment, Skeet moves in to Jackie’s house. The house immediately begins to feel crowded. Skeet... (full context)
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Robert struggles with having Skeet back in his life. Skeet almost never leaves the house, but he constantly asks Robert... (full context)
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...of September, Robert spends a full day visiting his friends before he leaves for Yale. Skeet is still waiting for his post-conviction hearing, so Robert visits him in jail. He also... (full context)
Chapter 6
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...in jail for manslaughter. Jeff doesn’t ask anything else. Robert never mentions that he appealed Skeet’s decision, or that the hearing is coming up. (full context)
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...and Robert has called her from Yale almost every night. The next day, Robert visits Skeet in prison and gets up-to-date on the appeal process. (full context)
Chapter 7
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...with mental disabilities, and Robert has stayed at Yale to work on the custodial staff. Skeet’s post-conviction appeal has been overturned, meaning that Skeet is back in jail for good. Jeff... (full context)
Chapter 8
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...in Elihu meetings—delivers a four-hour bio in which he talks about his father. He says Skeet was the victim of a system designed to persecute black men, and concludes, “the white... (full context)
Chapter 10
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...get together on weekends to play water polo. Before playing, Robert always goes to visit Skeet. Skeet and Robert continue to search for a way to get Skeet out of jail.... (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... (full context)
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...St. Benedict’s five days a week. That summer, however, Robert experiences a major change when Skeet collapses in prison. (full context)
Chapter 11
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...be tougher and more capable than he really is. Around this time, Robert learns that Skeet has brain cancer. (full context)
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Robert spends a lot of time visiting Skeet in prison. It becomes clear to him that Skeet doesn’t have much longer to live.... (full context)
Chapter 15
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...She wishes Robert, now aged thirty, had made more of his education. And she wishes Skeet hadn’t been arrested. (full context)