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A Hope in the Unseen: An American Odyssey from the Inner City to the Ivy League

A Hope in the Unseen: An American Odyssey from the Inner City to the Ivy League

4.1 137
by Ron Suskind

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It is 1993, and Cedric Jennings is a bright and ferociously determined honor student at Ballou, a high school in one of Washington D.C.’s most dangerous neighborhoods, where the dropout rate is well into double digits and just 80 students out of more than 1,350 boast an average of B or better. At Ballou, Cedric has almost no friends. He eats lunch in a


It is 1993, and Cedric Jennings is a bright and ferociously determined honor student at Ballou, a high school in one of Washington D.C.’s most dangerous neighborhoods, where the dropout rate is well into double digits and just 80 students out of more than 1,350 boast an average of B or better. At Ballou, Cedric has almost no friends. He eats lunch in a classroom most days, plowing through the extra work he has asked for, knowing that he’s really competing with kids from other, harder schools. Cedric Jennings’s driving ambition–which is fully supported by his forceful mother–is to attend a top-flight college.

In September 1995, after years of near superhuman dedication, he realizes that ambition when he begins as a freshman at Brown University. In this updated edition, A Hope in the Unseen chronicles Cedric’s odyssey during his last two years of high school, follows him through his difficult first year at Brown, and now tells the story of his subsequent successes in college and the world of work.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A beautiful book of a heroic American struggle."
—David Halberstam in USA Today

"[An] extraordinary, formula-shattering book."
New York Times Book Review

"A story of sheer human grit that should be read by others as example and inspiration."
—Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post Book World

"Absolutely gripping.  A sort of suspense novel of the human psyche. . . . It's beyond good, it's really extraordinary."
—Walter Kirn, National Public Radio

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Read an Excerpt

The next morning blooms into a radiant, cloudless day, as it ought to be. Freshmen arrive for orientation, ferried by a grand procession of proud parents.

Barbara, tired from the drive, gets a late start and, before long, the day feels harried. It's nearly noon by the time they get to College Hill, a steep slope on top of which Brown sits like a cloud city above the gritty ethnic enclaves, legendary Italian restaurants, and aging factories of Providence. "I wanted to get this all done early. Now look," she says, sitting in the van near the Brown student union as Cedric, looking at a checklist in his orientation packet, slips out to go get his temporary student ID. "Don't be all day, Lavar," she calls after him, all business, "I gotta get back home."

Cedric has drawn a desirable dorm, Andrews Hall. It's a three-story brick horseshoe on the quieter Pembroke side of campus that was renovated over the summer and now boasts fresh carpeting and new paint. From the Andrews parking lot, they unload the van swiftly, with Cedric helping on this end. While Barbara glances tersely at other parents—mostly white, of course—unloading Lexuses and Range Rovers and Volvo wagons, she notices that Cedric seems to be increasingly relaxed—smiling at some of the other incoming freshmen and offering unsolicited greetings.

"These dorms are nice," Barbara notes over her shoulder to Cedric, who is dragging a trunk full of linens behind her across the second-floor hallway carpet. Remembering Cedric's complaints about last summer's dorms, she adds, "And a lot nicer than MIT, ain't it?"

"Lot nicer," he says, almost shouting. "This place is nothing like MIT."

A small paper square taped to the door of room 216 says "Cedric Lavar Jennings and Robert Burton." Cedric fumbles with the key and opens the heavy wooden door.

"Wow," he says.

"Hmmm, very nice," Barbara confirms.

His roommate, Rob, has already been here, settled in and gone. Barbara moves to the empty bed and starts unpacking while Cedric goes back downstairs for the rest. She carefully places a dozen new pairs of underwear, a dozen new pairs of socks, and six new T-shirts (clothes bought with money she didn't have to spare) onto closet shelves, and she begins a ritual that she figures is being repeated at this moment in hundreds of rooms across the campus: a mother making her child's bed for the last time. It's not like Barbara made his bed back home, she muses, but it doesn't matter. She made a thousand beds before she was twenty, and now she meticulously presses flat a fold of sheet, tucking it tight. Cedric returns, carrying his CDs, and crosses the room to check the unfamiliar titles in Rob's collection as Barbara lays the blanket and smoothes it.

With the van unpacked and their stomachs growling, Barbara decides they should walk to one of the dining halls for lunch. Soon, she and Cedric are strolling the campus, through archways and across neatly edged rectangles of thick grass.

While Barbara is delighted that Cedric, so tightly wound yesterday, is now buoyantly bouncing as he walks, an unwanted self-consciousness is welling up inside her. She'd rather not notice the cars other parents are driving, the clothes they're wearing, and the ease with which they move. She knows, of course, that the typical Brown parents probably went to college and on to some professional status that their offspring, by virtue of this Ivy League acceptance, are now bounding toward. Here, it's a day for her to be proud, but she can't help staring at them—these smiling, polished people—and overhearing their jaunty melody of generational succession: a child's footsteps following their own, steps on a path that leads to prosperity's table and a saved seat right next to Mom and Dad.

Barbara, watching Cedric demolish a ham sandwich at the dining hall, tries to figure out what she brings to this place, where she fits. It's her day, too, she resolves, looking across a dining hall filled with effusive, chatty parents and freshmen, though her song is flat and elemental—an old, familiar harmony, really, about sacrifice and denial and a child venturing where the parent never could.

"Really is a whole 'nother world up here," she says quietly across the table as Cedric reaches for her untouched sandwich, barely noticing that she's there. In that instant, she realizes how afraid she is that she might lose him.

It's almost two o'clock when they head back to the dorm. Near the new, soaring brick medical school, Cedric spots a bumper sticker on a parked car: "Your Honor Student Was Beaten Up By My Kid" it says, a play on the honor student bumper stickers that are especially popular in the inner cities.

"That car must be from D.C.," he jokes, and Barbara puts her arm around him as they laugh.

A tall, thin Caucasian girl with hazel-blue eyes, a row of earrings, and a shaved head strolls by. "Isn't that awful," Barbara murmurs to Cedric after the girl passes. "Must be chemotherapy." He nods sympathetically.

A few blocks ahead, passing a lovely Victorian house just north of Andrews dorm, Barbara admires the wide, circular porch and an apple arbor alongside it. "That fruit could feed a lot of hungry people," she says as they walk the last few feet to the dorm. Inside Cedric's room, they're puttering around when the door opens. It's a smallish white boy with dark hair, a faint Van Dyke beard, and sandals.

"You must be Rob," says Cedric with a wide smile.

"You must be Cedric," he echoes back in a soft, cheery voice.

Barbara nods a hello at him and rises from Cedric's bed. She knows that the time has come. In a moment, she and Cedric go down the elevator and outside and begin walking the last block to the van. She doesn't want to lead and senses that he doesn't either, so their pace slows until they're almost weaving—like they're not going anywhere, really. But as he looks down at his feet, she's able to glimpse the side of his face without him knowing. And Barbara Jennings can't help but hear echoes of her earlier self, holding a baby a little too tight, saying, "I'll save you, and me, too."

At the bumper of the van, he looks up.

"You be good, okay?" she says.

"Yeah . . ."

"Come here," she finally says, holding her arms out wide, and the two fall together as she presses her cheek hard against his.

"Trust in God, let Him guide you," she whispers.

"I will, Ma."

They hug for a good, long time. She's not been a mother to show him much physical affection in these latter years. The situation demanded strength. She had to be a father, too, as best she knew how, and maybe that hardened her touch. So, as they pull apart, she finds that her cheeks are flushed. She shakes it off.

"Okay, now," Barbara says. She reaches into the back seat and gives him a Frito-Lay assortment pack, uneaten from the trip. He nods. She gets into the front seat and waves once, and Cedric begins ambling down the hill toward the dorm.

"Wait!" She spots his deodorant in the space between the seats and yells through the open window. He runs the few feet back to get it.

"All right, 'bye," she says, and he turns, briskly walking back to the dorm as she watches him in the rearview. He doesn't look back.

Barbara is quiet as the van eases into gear and drifts onto the quiet street. She told herself she wouldn't cry, so she tries to occupy her eyes, looking at things she passes by. That Victorian would sure be nice, she thinks to herself, heading past the wraparound porch.

But something's wrong. She snaps to attention. The money!

Next thing, she's back in the dorm parking lot and then running up the stairs, taking them two at a time.

The door to room 216 bursts open. "I forgot this," Barbara says, panting, and squeezes three neatly folded twenties into her son's hand. Already, though, the room belongs to Cedric Lavar Jennings, a Brown freshman, and that nice white boy on the other bed. She feels suddenly unsure. Cedric is smiling broadly but like he's looking right through her. "Well, good-bye Lavar," she says simply and slips out. Doesn't hug him this time. She'd think a lot about that later.

It takes a moment for the heavy oak door to swing on its hinge. And when it slams, it's like a thunder clap, leaving her alone with the smell of fresh paint.

Meet the Author

Ron Suskind is the author of The Globe and Mail and New York Times bestsellers The One Percent Doctrine, The Price of Loyalty, and A Hope in the Unseen. From 1993 to 2000 he was the senior national affairs writer for The Wall Street Journal, where he won a Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing. He currently writes for various national magazines, including The New York Times Magazine and Esquire, and is the senior fellow at Harvard’s Center of Ethics. He lives in Harvard Square, MA. 

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A Hope In The Unseen (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 137 reviews.
S_Ayala More than 1 year ago
A Hope in the Unseen written by award winning writer and journalist Ron Suskind. The story follows a young man named Cedric Jennings through-out his last years of high school, and is first year at Brown University. It shows the struggle for Cedric by being out of his comfort zone for most of the story. Cedric is highly intelligent, but making friends is not his strong suit. Our purpose for reading this book was to show us students that anything is possible. No matter what your background is you can still be make it to an Ivy League College. A Hope in the Unseen was phenomenal book to read. Showing me that anything is possible if you work for it. My favorite chapter was chapter 13. In chapter 13 Cedric gets his grade back for a math test that he had taken earlier, he was so sure that he had gotten a D. he opened the envelope and to his surprise he got a 98 on the test. It's my favorite part because we have all taken a test that we were sure to fail but we don't do so bad on it. My least favorite part was chapter 6 'The pretender" because it shows how Bishop Long wasn't really preaching for the community, but he was doing it for the money. It's my least favorite part because it shows the dark side to people, and how money can change the thoughts to anybody. For the writing it was all about Cedric, Suskind did not put his thought  or the thoughts of anybody else.  Over all i would rate this book a 4.5 out of 5, and would highly recommend it to anybody that wants to enter an Ivy League college to show that it is possible.
HEYITSLeslieP-4th More than 1 year ago
The novel, A Hope in the Unseen by Ron Suskind explains the inspiring story of a student named, Cedric Jennings who was a student from Ballou High School and how he was able to achieve great things, even being in a harsh environment with little motivation. Also, Suskind is able to follow Cedric from his junior year at Ballou all the way to Brown University, in which Cedric is face with competition, some prejudice, and hardship of maintaining true to himself. Throughout the novel, Cedric is face with multiple difficulties and it makes him question who he is. The purpose of the novel was to inform students who go through similar difficulties and to explain how society’s standings on education affects students. Suskind’s novel, A Hope in the Unseen is very interesting novel and I would absolutely recommend it. I like the novel because it makes you think about the educational statistics of Ivy League Colleges and how students actually go through this. My favorite chapter is Chapter four because you are able to see how Cedric is affected and you get to know his personality more. Also, in Chapter four Suskind is able to incorporate many rhetorical strategies such as, tone, pathos, and simile. Suskind uses tone in this chapter because the tone is very different, since it changes it a lot. He incorporates pathos by writing how Cedric is feeling and what aspects are causing it, which makes the reader feel the emotion. In my opinion, I would rate the novel a 4.5 out 5 because it’s so fascinating and Suskind is able to truly capture how students like Cedric go through this.
Nkwo_C More than 1 year ago
A Hope in the Unseen is a novel by Pulitzer award winning author and critically acclaimed journalist Ron Suskind. I read this book as a requirement for my AP Language and Composition class, because of how much of it equates to our lives; I am glad I did. The story centers itself around the life of a young African American boy Cedric Jennings; Through this story, Ron Suskind chronicles Cedrics last years at high school and his first year in Brown University. A Hope in the unseen epitomizes Cedrics struggle through the walls of one of the worst high schools in the inner city- Ballou Senior High, were gun violence and gang activity are the word of the day, to his family life with his father in jail, leaving his mother compounded with the struggle to pay bills and keep a roof over their heads and then his strong desire to attend a to university, ridding the possibility of his becoming just another statistic; just another failure. He works with prodigious determination and makes his dreams come true. When Cedric Jennings get accepted into Brown he little knows that it would be one of his most trying experiences; testing the morals and principles he has lived by all his life. Would he be able to succeed without giving in to the temptations and trials he faces at Brown? I really enjoyed this story because it is very well written, comprises very well developed characters that grow as the story unfolds. Suskind also uses various rhetorical strategies like pathos, by conveying the emotions of the characters in the story making readers emotionally attached, and use of diction makes the novel applicable to its readers. I give this book a 5-star rating because it shows students like me that fear of getting into college and struggles through high school are only for the time being and hard work and dedication always prevail Cedric teaches a lesson of perseverance even through deplorable circumstances. I enjoyed every chapter as each blossomed in its own way, most especially chapter 1 “Something to push against” because it shows Cedrics drive and the reason for his thirst for success he calls himself “a man on a mission” a mission to succeed, to be much more than a statistic. A mission he achieved. This an effective text that captivates the audience, engages the reader and tells a good story. I would definitely recommend this novel not just to students struggling with issues affecting them academically but anyone who faces struggles in life that seem impossible to overcome, this story shows everything is possible as long as you work hard at it.
AdrianG More than 1 year ago
   Adrian Garcia AP Lang & Comp. 10/23/14  “A Hope in the Unseen” is an amazing novel written by Ron Suskind.  Ron being a Wall Street Journalist follows a young Man by the name of Cedric Jennings.Cedric is attending Ballou High School, one of the worst schools in his district in the Southside of Washington D.C.  It follows him through the last two years of his high school and his first year attending Brown University, an Ivy League school. You see Cedric breaking away from the dangerous Southside to make it to a college. Having no father, little money, and a single mother to raise him, he manages to make it to an Ivy League college. Where the atmosphere is different from where he came from, you see him developing into a man, a man who sees things and thinks differently about people, ideas, and experiences. You see a new person.     The book should deserve an overall five star rating. Suskind, being a Pulitzer prizewinner and a journalist, he knows how to attract young readers with a book that compares to the struggling life of kids attempting to reach a good college. Suskind also gives advice. The advice to have Hope, reason being you may struggle a lot but you keep on going.  Which makes me kind of inspired by Cedric. I may not    have the same struggles but I understand his struggle with himself. I keep on going no matter what happen in life. My favorite chapter of this book was 14. In this chapter Cedric becomes a new man and starts to see and understand more than he did when he was a high school student. Basically the part I was waiting for in the book where Cedric changes.  
VeneciaB More than 1 year ago
Venecia Byrd AP Lang & Comp. October 23, 2014 “A Hope in the Unseen” in a phenomenal novel written by Ron Suskind. This story talks about a kid, Cedric Jennings, whom is an outstanding and brilliant student, but has a little trouble when it comes to engaging with people and his outside life. Suskind shadows Cedric and tells this astounding selection about Cedric’s educational success. Suskind’s chose of words were what really made me think because there are simple words you can use to make a reader understand, but since he was of that level you could tell he was well educated. This book portrays various themes that any reader can identify and I feel that is the reason any English class, no matter what level should read this novel. My AP class was required to read this story because of the amount of relativity we could equate within our own lives. No matter what skin color, age, or gender you are any student can relate to Cedric Jennings’ character and teething troubles. Countless students have the same difficulties Cedric faced and some may not know how to decipher them. The most distinguishable theme I recognized was inspiration. You have to look profoundly into this book and see that it is all based upon inspiration. Cedric may have gone through ample situations, but he never let that stop him from succeeding in what he was made to do. I think all students should be required to read this book because there may be additional Cedric Jennings’ who are waiting to be exposed, but they may not have the reassurance. I very much so relished this book because it kept me betrothed. You never know what the next part may be and once you make a prediction it turns out another outcome is revealed. I had numerous chapters that were my favorite, but the chapter that stood out to me the utmost was chapter 14: Meeting the Man. Chapter 14 is what every student or any reader was waiting on. We all were waiting to see when Cedric was going to stop being a little boy and propagate into a man. In the preceding chapters we saw several changes, but the biggest adjustment was in the end. Suskind choice an immense number of college educated words which is why I was confused at times, but it did not hurt to look them up. Suskind and Cedric moved me after reading this novel and even though I do not read often I would love to read more by him. I give this book beyond 5 stars because no matter what struggles you are up against, faced, or are going to encounter this book can give you the right motivation to better yourself as a person and student.
JLewis1 More than 1 year ago
Jameccia Lewis Mrs.Stewart AP Language and Composition Sep, 19 2012 A great book that I read in my AP Language and Comp. class was A Hope in the Unseen, by Ron Suskind. This book is about an incredible boy named Cedric and his rode to success though education. Also over coming many obstacles that he faced throughout his life. From poverty stricken life, bad neighborhood, and many conflicts with himself that anyone can relate to. So that’s why this story deserves a five star rating. To further explain I really enjoyed reading A Hope in the Unseen. My favorite chapter of A Hope in the Unseen is chapter 14, “Meeting the Man”, because I can really relate to that chapter. There was a time when I lived with my grandma and she was having a hard time paying the rent, and we had to move. But just like Cedric it showed me to strive for greatness so I will not have to experience something like this ever again. Also one chapter that I could not relate to was chapter 7 “Good-Bye to Yesterday “. This is why this is was my least favorite chapter, because I never experienced going to college. However I enjoyed A Hope in the Unseen, and Ron Suskind did a great job telling a story that many people can relate to.
Kennedy_Kimari More than 1 year ago
Kennedy Perry Ms. Stewart AP Language and Composition September 19, 2011 A Hope in the Unseen is a compelling novel by Ron Suskind that my AP Language and Composition class read. It is an exceptional read. It tells the story of a young man named Cedric Jennings growing up in Southeast Washington D.C. It follows him throughout his last two years of high school and his first year of college. It portrays his struggles, and how he pushed past being poverty stricken and having an incarcerated father to reach his goals. He also had to push through the barriers of being a young, African American, or so he thought. Cedric had to work hard for everything he wanted, and in the end, his hard work paid off. This book is a great read. Ron Suskind did a wonderful job in conveying Cedric's story. One truly understood everything Cedric went through to get to where he wanted to be. It is a genuine five-star read. A Hope in the Unseen was a great novel. The story of Cedric's life was quite intriguing, and it was something that I could relate to. The fact that I can relate to this novel on a personal level caused it to be quite enjoyable for me to read. The chapter that I relate to and like the most was chapter four: "Skin Deep". This is so because I, too, attended a summer program at a University, and I felt like I was always ten steps behind the other students. The chapter that I do not seem to relate to was chapter 5: "To Him Who Endureth". This is so because I have never had the privilege of giving a high school graduation speech, which the chapter seems to be centered around. However, due to Suskind's writing style, I understand Cedric's emotions during that period of time and the concept behind his speech. Suskind's use of imagery and pathos enabled me to sympathize with Cedric while seeing the details of his story unfold before my eyes. Suskind made it so that I never wanted the story to end. He created, by far, the best piece of literature that I have ever read.
Melanie830 More than 1 year ago
A Hope in the Unseen is an exceptional novel written by Ron Suskind. The novel follows a young African American boy who is going through his last year of high school and his first year at Brown University. Cedric is an very intelligent boy is not very good at showing his emotions to others. Cedric is constantly always at an battle with himself on what he should and shouldn't do to people. The reason students read A Hope in the Unseen is to give them a since of relief that anyone from any background, good or bad, can make it to an Ivy League College. It shows that you do not always have to do what everyone else wants you to do.
K_ervin More than 1 year ago
Ron Suskind is an award winner and author of 4 New York Times Bestsellers. His novel A Hope in the Unseen, is about an underpriveledged inner city youth who is trying to beat all odds against him and attend an Ivy League school. The novel goes through his various struggles and accomplishments to determine whether or not he will rise above his poverty stricken community or be enticed by his environment. The book describes certain characters who have both positive and negative influences on his life and the choice he makes. This book would be rated as a very interesting piece of literature. I enjoyed the book so much because I was able to relate to it with my own personal struggles with my father and also trying to succeed in school amongst other students I feel inferior to. I disliked the way Suskind down played Cedric's intelligence, but I admired now he wrote Cedric's work ethic. My favorite chapter was 14 and the epilogue, because I was over joyed with how Cedric over came his insecurities of "smarter" people around him and made himself comfortable with college life. Suskind did a great job connecting with the reader emotionally and mentally. This book makes youth who come from the same background want to do better. With that I rate his writing skills a 9.
JStroger More than 1 year ago
A Hope in the Unseen is written by Ron Suskind, an award winning author and journalist of the Pulitzer Prize. In the novel Suskind describes the life of Cedric Jennings, a young, African American teenager, living in poverty as he is determined to get into his dream school, MIT. The purpose of reading the novel was a requirement for my AP Language & Composition class. The students were required to read the novel as we will soon be preparing for college and the application process just as Cedric. Many readers can relate as they may face the same obstacles and struggles as Cedric, while still determined to be successful in life. The novel is very inspirational and interesting to read as I too can relate to some of the struggles faced by Cedric. I would the book a 4.5 rating as the book motivates me to continue to work hard and reach higher than before. My favorite chapter in the book is one because it gives insight on the problems which lies ahead in which Cedric will have to overcome. It also tells of how Cedric is bullied and told by kids in his school that he will never be anything in life, so he should just stop dreaming big. Being told this, Cedric runs with it and looks at it as a chance to prove everyone wrong and defy the odds. The use of rhetorical strategies and techniques includes pathos, imagery, dialect, and literary criticism. The use of the pathos adds to the various tones in the story which allows readers to become more engaged in the story and feel as if they are there with Cedric. I would definitely recommend this book as it is very inspirational to minorities and students preparing for college.
Suzy_T More than 1 year ago
During 1995, Suskund is awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing, an award for journalists. In 1998, Ron Suskind publishes his first book named A Hope in the Unseen: An American Odyssey from the Inner City to the Ivy League. For my Advanced Placement Language and Composition class, the class read this novel because we, as high schoolers, would be able to identify with many struggles and obstacles Cedric encounters throughout the novel, such as his education, faith, and family. A Hope in the Unseen: An American Odyssey from the Inner City to the Ivy League demonstrates the experience from transferring from high school to college. Although A Hope in the Unseen: An American Odyssey from the Inner City to the Ivy League is not my favorite novel, I give the novel 4 stars because young-adult readers are able to connect with Cedric, having experienced similar problems. My favorite chapter is "Don't Let Them Hurt Your Children" because chapter two demonstrates the importance of a mother's children, through Barbara Jennings, Cedric's mother. As a mother, Barbara wants what is best for her children. Barbara becomes anxious after not seeing her children safe in their apartment. Barbara reaction is to punish Leslie when she enter the apartment with her half-brother, Cedric. Barbara punishes Leslie because she left the apartment with Cedric without permission in a neighborhood where they are exposed to danger everywhere they go.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"A Hope in the Unseen" by Ron Suskind is a national bestseller that tells a story of a African American boy, Cedric Jennings, who has the potential to make it where he does not fit in, an Ivy League School. Readers of this novel should have a different perspective on how to live life and take advantage of every opportunity given. This is a phenomenal novel. Everything about it is outstanding. It is very easy to understand as the author uses great choice of dialogue. The best chapter in the book is chapter 1 because of how it relates to so many many students living in Chicago. Suskind use of pathos makes this novel really enjoyable because of the mood and visual images it creates for the reader. This great piece of work will forever be the best.
a_munoz More than 1 year ago
A Hope in the Unseen is written by award winning author and journalist Ron Suskind. The novel is a about Cedric Jennings, the protagonist, that is followed throughout the novel and his experiences in high school and knowledge. The purpose for reading this novel was required for for my AP Language and Composition class and it is a book we can connect to with our own lives. The connection is many students face the difficulties as Cedric in school, no matter what race, so that is something that can be related throughout situations because of school. Overall, the novel is interesting seeing the situations and problems that Cedric has to overcome and the difficulty he faces. My favorite chapter is chapter seven because Cedric is seen as he is transitioned to a new environment that he will not be used to. Cedric's adjustment in college is shown throughout the novel. There are some problems that Cedric faces in the chapter because he is a minority, classes, and economical issues. Suskind's use of his writing style and rhetorical strategies captivate the readers. I would highly recommend this novel because it helps have a great understanding on how minorities are accepted to college and the difficulties they face me and problems they have to overcome like Cedric.
Bryant_A More than 1 year ago
I was assigned to read A Hope in the Unseen by Ron Suskind, for an English class this school year. This novel takes us through Cedric Jennings', the main protagonist, journey from his low class neighborhood in Washington D.C. to Brown University. While on his journey, Cedric deals with problems with his race, finances, and his identity. The novel also deals with academics and the challenges of transitioning into college and how he overcomes them. Overall, I believe this novel was good. My favorite chapter is chapter 2 and I did not have a least favorite chapter. Chapter 2 is my favorite because Cedric sings for the first time. Mr. Suskind's use of diction, syntax, and tone, allows his readers to hear and feel the emotions and the passion behind it. Overall, I give the book a 4.5 because really did enjoy this novel, but it is a pretty long and difficult read. So, as long as you have a dictionary, lots of time to spare and a hope in the unseen, I am sure you will enjoy it as well.
J_Moore1 More than 1 year ago
This novel is one of many of Ron Suskinds glorious novels. He creates "A Hope in the Unseen" to expose how obstacles such as culture clash, man vs. man, and man vs. society cannot be an excuse to dilute any faith an individual may have for success. With that, this text allows for the reader to join the journey of character growth the main character Cedric Jennings undergoes. The lessons and experiences portrayed in the text are imperative for students nation wide to relate and understand to. In addition, this is a four star novel and it is fairly simple to understand the necessity for why this novel must be a mandatory English assignment! Furthermore, I feel this is an awesome book. The connections a reader can make to this text get so deep that a person would reference to this text for motivation and inspiration that there is truly a hope in the unseen. Nevertheless, the author uses several rhetorical strategies that signify significance in different scenes that actually are altered to be easily interpreted by readers which makes the text extremely appealing and easy to read. On the other hand, I specifically enjoyed chapter one as the reader was introduced to the relationship Cedric and Mr. Taylor has. Specifically, this connects to how me and my mentor operate because we create such a dynamic team that my future is just as success filled as Cedric Jennings. Ron Suskind did a fabulous job with this novel and on a scale of 1 to 10 on the novels message and appeal he most definitely deserves a 10.
E_Mendoza More than 1 year ago
Edith Mendoza Mrs. Stewart Williams AP Lang & Comp 20 October 20, 2016 The novel “A Hope in the Unseen” is a phenomenal well written book by Ron Suskind. This book pertains how a teenager raised by a single mother gets accepted to Brown University in which he copes with different obstacles. The protagonist of the story is Cedric Jennings, not only does he struggle with identity issues, but he also has quite the encounters with roommates. He is raised by a single mother because his father made her chose whether it was him, or Cedric. Obviously Barbara, Cedric’s mother, chooses Cedric, and Cedric Gillam disappears. When he tries to come back into Cedric’s life he is a drug addict, who is also in the search by the cops. Cedric struggles identifying himself with cliques because he was practically always on his own at his high school. This book with all honest opinion deserves a solid 9/10. The only reason why it is missing a point was because I did not expect the ending to end the way it did, I would have expected a better ending. Other than that the book has great literary criticism examples, and it has a different moral aside from the rest of the novels. Honestly, out of all the books I have read all throughout high school as an assigned book this is so far my favorite. Like I mentioned earlier it has a different moral, and different theme. The book goes in depth of how roommates could be, and how dealing with a person with a race someone is not used to can be affected. My favorite chapter is number five, and it is called “To Him Who Endureth.” This chapter is the best in this book because it casts how Cedric starts having identity issues. This chapter also portrays how Barbara knows her son is growing, and soon he will be gone, and so I sense her trying to force him to grow up specifically in this chapter. My least favorite chapter is “Don’t let them hurt your children.” The reason for my disapproval is because I feel like they discussed too much about their religious values, and not enough about Barbara. Suskind’s writing skills were magnificent. A rhetorical analysis that was highly illustrated throughout the whole novel was pathos. If pathos were not used in this book, the boo would lose the main point, and the tone.
T_Dixon More than 1 year ago
The book was not a bad book as the lesson that was taught was very obvious. The book did not leave a lasting impression however. Seeing as how the novel's main character is not really liked, the class discussions that we had seemed to only talk about Cedric in a negative light. The novel, A Hope in the Unseen, written by Ron Suskind, is not a story that is easily understood by all. I would rate this book 3 out of 5 stars. When it comes to A Hope in the Unseen, I find that the book deals with a lot of conflicts that exist today, yet during his time the conflicts were much more open. I did not like chapter one because of the introduction of Cedric Jennings. He was talking like one of the most condescending, most arrogant person anyone could meet. He wants to say that he is smart, but he ends up sounding like he is some sort of know-it-all. Now, based on the way Suskind writes the book, I would give him a 3 out of 5 as well. I feel as if the way Cedric is seen could have been better, or just have a smaller yet more drastic change to Cedric. The way Cedric seems throughout the entire book is that he is some person who is entitled to the respect that he does not deserve. He honestly seems as if he is trying to be this troubled person crying out for help, but ends up pushing away anyone and anything that can even be considered helpful. This is where I think that Suskind falls flat on.
JRamos99 More than 1 year ago
A Hope in the Unseen is a novel written by an award winning author, Ron Suskind. In this novel, the readers follow the struggle of a colored boy named Cedric. Cedric lives in one of Washington D.C.’s most dangerous living environments. Cedric also attends a horrific high school and has all odds against him as far as being a successful in life. However, Cedric ends up beating all odds and gets accepted into Brown University, which is an Ivy-League school. There are many reasons why this book is studied in schools. The fact that Cedric’s struggle is a true story, allows students to believe that any goal that they could possibly think of, can be reached. This novel is studied in schools so that students get inspired. The novel has a lot of rhetorical analysis and also teaches students about how affirmative action, or the preferences that colleges have for people of different races, can really help colored people when looking for colleges. After reading this novel, I would give it a three out of five rating. A Hope in the Unseen by Ron Suskind is an inspiration. I really like how Suskind emphasizes on Cedric’s problems. In doing this, the reader really feels inspired by the huge obstacles that Cedric had to overcome in order to get into Brown University. I like how Suskind uses pathos to make the readers feel bad and sorry for Cedric. It makes Cedric’s journey all the more interesting in my opinion. My favorite chapter is “Skin Deep”, which was chapter four. I think it is interesting to see how Cedric deals with being out of his comfort zone for the first time while at MIT. However, my least favorite chapter is “Something to Push Against”, which is chapter one. I do not like this chapter simply because I do not agree with Cedric’s decisions and behavior within the chapter. Based on Suskind’s writing style, I rate this book a three out of five. Suskind does a great job keeping the readers interested in Cedric’s journey by using rhetorical analysis.
HillisKenzie More than 1 year ago
A Hope in the Unseen written by Ron Suskind, shows the steps a young black student goes through to attend an Ivy League college. Cedric Jennings is the smartest student at his school, he works hard and pays attention only to his work. Making friends is not easy for him, he is so focused on school and his future that he doesn't feel the need to make friends. After reading this book, we learned that anything is possible. your background, or your surrounding's doesn't play a part in attending a good college. Cedric didn't let coming from a crime filled place stop him from attending a good school. Cedric has worked hard in school since he was very young. this lets us know that working hard now, will eventually pay off in the future. reading this book has opened up a lot of eyes, my favorite chapter was chapter 12. in chapter 12, Cedric visits his high school as a guest speaker .he wasn't gone that long but teachers are already telling him that the place has gotten worse. As Cedric walks through the hallways, he see's blood on the stairs. When he see's that, he realizes that this school was really bad and he's lucky to even of made it out of there safely. he also realizes that its time to move on and to leave that place, it holds no purpose for him. The chapter I didn't really like was chapter 4. I didn't like chapter 4 because it shows Cedric struggling to keep up with other students. When he got his acceptance letter, he felt so proud and confident of himself, but once he started to do the material, he began to struggle a lot and it made him feel worthless compared to other students. MIT was the school he initially wanted to go too, when he was told he wasn't MIT material, it broke his heart. Cedric is such a hard worker, and too hear that made him feel as if all of his hard work hasn't paid off or that it was for nothing. Ron Suskind gives great insight into the thoughts and feelings of Cedric and how his accomplishments can give other minority students the encouragement to do greater things. I really liked this book because a lot of things were relatable and are very valuable. I'd recommend other students to read this book because it portrays a lot of the same issues we go through when trying to get into a good college. it also shows that no matter what background you come from, or your race, making it into a good college like a Ivy League school is possible for anyone. you just have to be dedicated and work hard.
aylin_vega More than 1 year ago
New York Times Bestsellers, A Hope in the Unseen, by Ron Suskind is a great book. The book is nothing like the average book teachers have you read at school. The novel captivates what real life problems looks like especially for poor minority families. In the novel the main character, Cedric, is constantly drowning with thoughts of not being good enough because of people bringing him down. No matter how many times Cedric thinks of giving up, he keeps going. Cedric knows that he can accomplish anything if he puts his mind to it. Of course Cedric is not even close to being as smart as his classmates at Brown, but he keeps going and trying to catch himself up. The novel in general shows young readers that they should not give up no matter what, to strive for what you want. The novel also teaches young readers to never lose faith in God, he will always be right there guiding them. Of course Cedric goes through many obstacles to make it to Brown, but he ends up proving everyone who said he was not good enough wrong. High school students especially can learn great lessons and morals from this great novel. The book is a very wonderful life-changing book. The best chapter has to be chapter 11, “Back Home”, because the chapter honestly makes one smile. Although the first couple of pages are a bit rocky because he realizes home is no longer in Washington but at Brown. That is partially good though because Cedric is finally finding himself and becoming more secure with himself. Another part of the chapter that is great is when Cedric decided to take five difficult classes for his second semester. Cedric realizes that him taking all pass or fail classes during his first semester was monkey business so he decided to man up and take even more classes than the usual freshman. The least best chapter is chapter 8, Fierce Intimacies, because Cedric and his roommate Rob, get into more fights and it is just sad to see because the main reason behind these stupid little fights is because of their different colors. The rating of the book is five stars out of five because it is probably the best book one will ever read as a high school student. Suskind uses pathos to appeal to his audience; he makes one feel bad for Cedric at times. Suskind also uses logos; she talks about affirmative action and background behind it. Overall the novel is marvelous, Suskind did an amazing job.
Julian1007 More than 1 year ago
The novel A Hope in the Unseen is an extremely interesting literary work written by Ron Suskind. Having to read this novel for my language and composition class, I was not disappointed in reading this novel. However, the shifting of perspective from character to character is confusing and throws the reader off frequently. The novel follows the life of Cedric, an extremely smart young black teenager attending one of the most troubled schools in Washington D.C., Ballou. Cedric graduates from Ballou and finds that he was accepted to Brown University. Everyone at Cedric’s home town is extremely proud of him. Throughout the novel Cedric’s supporters and enemies also receive perspectives describing the impact that either they have on Cedric or Cedric has had on them. The plot of the novel, while sometimes hard to grasp, is still a very enjoyable experience to follow. Personally, the novel was good to me and I liked how the novel displayed it’s themes of race and environment extremely well. Cedric as a character is an extremely confusing person to figure out. I disliked Cedric more, however, because of the cockiness in his abilities and his non-existent appreciation for the sacrifices made by people close to him. Personally, my favorite chapter was chapter five, “To Him Who Endureth”, because Cedric receives the fruits of his labor and receives an acceptance letter to attend Brown University in the fall. I highly recommend this novel to readers who find interest in success stories, as well as the effects of one’s race and environment on their life and future.
R_Rivas More than 1 year ago
A Hope in the Unseen by Ron Suskind is a novel that talks about a young man named Cedric Jennings. The purpose of me reading this book is that it was assigned to me at school. A reason that I can others reading the book is because this book is very relatable. Somethings that happen to Cedric happen to people all over the world, every day. Ron Suskind publicizes this book in June 1998. Ron Suskind is a Pulitzer Prize winning American journalist and best-selling author. I rate this book a ten out of ten because it was a very interesting story and it creates a lot of emotion while reading. The book is about a character, Cedric Jennings, that’s is very smart but does not have the same opportunities at others. He lives in a community that does not care about grades and the kids prefer to do other things. Although he is always around negativity, he manages to push forward and he realizes that he can make it in life. After the rejection at MIT, Cedric looks at another direction and makes it into an Ivy League College, Brown. Cedric comes into a new environment and is lost for a good while but he learns that he has people that believe and love him. I liked this book very much because it shows that people should never give up, Cedric keeps his head high, no matter what happens. My favorite chapter is chapter fourteen because in this chapter Cedric finally talks to his mom. They have problems with each other but in the end, they realize that they should have each other backs. Cedric releases his real emotion and tells his mom that it is his turn to start caring too. My least favorite chapter is chapter 2 because in this chapter, Cedric’s mom has thoughts about aborting Cedric. Although I understand that she can do whatever with her body, I feel upset knowing that aborting is an option. She finally decides not to abort, but it still hurts knowing that she almost chooses her boyfriend over a baby. Suskind’s writing style deserves a five out of five. Suskind manages to keep readers interested be creating an image of Cedric life. He also uses pathos, to make the reader feel sadness, knowing that Cedric must go through a rough life. This book is very good and is recommended to anyone who is interested in a inspiring book.
Sh_Idris More than 1 year ago
A Hope in the Unseen is an award winning novel written by the former Wall Street Journal writer, Ron Suskind. It follows the struggles of high school student, Cedric Jennings. Cedric is a student at Ballou High School in Washington D.C. The novel’s purpose is to inform students about the exposure and culture clashes they will face during their life after high school. A Hope in the Unseen gives its high school student audience a real glimpse of the negative side to life after high school in new environments. The novel also uses implicit and explicit detail to show Cedric's level in financial and social class. I have to honestly rate this novel as a three out of five. While it gives good examples of culture clash, exposure, and racial tensions, I did not like how Cedric never fully adjusts socially to his college environment. I am pretty sure I am not the only reader who had the expectation that at the end of the novel Cedric would be attending parties, and being more socially active with his peers. Obviously, that is not the life Cedric Jennings is meant to live. Aside from that, my favorite part of the novel is towards the end in Chapter 13 where we see Cedric Sr. and Cedric Jr. start to build their relationship with each other. All throughout the novel, I feel that these two have wanted a relationship with each other, but do not know how to approach one another. My least favorite part about A Hope in the Unseen is in Chapter 14. I do not like how irresponsible Barbara Jennings has become towards the end of the novel. She feels that she needs to make herself feel better since Cedric left. She deals with this by purchasing clothing and shoes instead of paying her bills, which nearly causes her eviction. Aside from this, I can honestly say that Suskind's writing style helps the reader truly understand what is going on. His uses of explicit and implicit detail help characterize each person, and event, in the story. He also uses syntax, pathos, logos and imagery to pull the reader into the story until the very end.
k_gray More than 1 year ago
Ron Suskind is the author of the creative piece, A Hope in the Unseen. This novel follows the life of Cedric Jennings. Cedric is a poor, African American, young man that has dreams of going to an Ivy league school. However, there are many setbacks that interfere with him achieving those dreams. For one, being poor has caused Cedric to receive a very inadequate education. Therefore, he was ill-prepared to even apply to the school he truly dreamed of attending. I have a love/hate feeling towards this book. Some aspects of the book are relatable but other aspects are unrealistic. I feel like it was unrealistic because it's very hard to believe that someone from the type of neighborhood and high school that Cedric is from, could ever make it to an Ivy league school. However, Suskind's use of pathos and imagery immediately pulls the reader in emotionally and mentally. My favorite chapter was chapter four, Skin Deep. I favored this chapter because it takes place at MIT, where Cedric is surrounded by people who are just as intelligent as him, maybe even more. This setting causes Cedric to work harder to compete. When he begins to struggle with the MITES program, he learns to humble himself. He also learns that the world is much bigger than Ballou, where he is the second smartest student in school. Other than Cedric, my favorite character was Barbara. She lives a hard-knock life but this never discourages her. She has always done everything in her power to help make a better life for Cedric. She raises him to be an intelligent young man so that he will not have to go through life like she did. Overall, my rating for this book is four stars. I recommend this book to anyone that needs encouragement to always believe and have hope in achieving their dreams even if their dreams are unseen.
J_Henry2000 More than 1 year ago
A Hope in the Unseen is a book written by the award-winning journalist Ron Suskind that deals with many sensitive topics. I read this book in school as part of an AP class because we could learn a lot from the obstacles that the main character of this book faces. The main character of this book, Cedric Jennings, is an African-American teenage boy growing up in a morally defunct and physically run-down section of south Washington D.C. Throughout the story, Cedric encounters many challenges and faces many personal demons as he battles his way through fierce academic opposition, either coming from people like Cedric fighting for the same thing, or people that are nothing like Cedric that hate him for trying to make something of his life. Suskind handles the perspectives of different types of people well in this novel, and the characters each feel as if they each have their own history, humanity, and issues. I rate this book a 5 out of 5 because Suskind knows what he wants to do with this book, and he does it well. Suskind does not pull any punches with this story, using pathos-driven situations and forlorn characters to make the reader feel as if they have something to do with the events happening in the novel. A Hope in the Unseen is a biography, and as such, details the life of someone who truly did experience the feelings and events that the main character goes through. Suskind's direct, emotionless writing style contributes to the power of this book, as it enhances the autonomous nature of the characters. Overall, I would say that A Hope in the Unseen is a book that is well worth reading, and I would especially recommend it to anyone that enjoys learning about the modern problems of African-American people or affirmative action.