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

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

4.1 104
by Ron Suskind

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At Ballou Senior High, a crime-infested school in Washington, D.C., honor students have learned to keep their heads down. Like most inner-city kids, they know that any special attention in a place this dangerous can make you a target of violence. But Cedric Jennings will not swallow his pride, and with unwavering support from his mother, he studies and strives as if


At Ballou Senior High, a crime-infested school in Washington, D.C., honor students have learned to keep their heads down. Like most inner-city kids, they know that any special attention in a place this dangerous can make you a target of violence. But Cedric Jennings will not swallow his pride, and with unwavering support from his mother, he studies and strives as if his life depends on it—and it does. The summer after his junior year, at a program for minorities at MIT, he gets a fleeting glimpse of life outside, a glimpse that turns into a face-on challenge one year later: acceptance into Brown University, an Ivy League school.

At Brown, finding himself far behind most of the other freshmen, Cedric must manage a bewildering array of intellectual and social challenges. Cedric had hoped that at college he would finally find a place to fit in, but he discovers he has little in common with either the white students, many of whom come from privileged backgrounds, or the middle-class blacks. Having traveled too far to turn back, Cedric is left to rely on his faith, his intelligence, and his determination to keep alive his hope in the unseen—a future of acceptance and reward that he struggles, each day, to envision.

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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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 papersquare 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 a staff writer for the Wall Street Journal. In 1995, he won the Pulitzer Prize in Feature Writing for a two-part series about the high-school years of Cedric Jennings. Suskind and his family live in Washington, D.C.

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A Hope In The Unseen (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 104 reviews.
HeyItsMeFletcherDavis More than 1 year ago
A Hope in the Unseen tells the story of an African American person named Cedric Jennings, who battles the trials and tribulations his life provides in order to escape from his dangerous surroundings and become a better person. Ron Suskind, the award winning journalist and author of best-selling books such as The Price of Loyalty and The One Percent Doctrine, did a great job at putting Cedric’s Odyssey into words, for many people could relate to Cedric’s story in some aspect, but Suskind wrote it in such a way that even if you cannot relate to Cedric you will still enjoy his story. I had to read this extraordinary masterpiece in school simply because my teacher believed that it is a good book, and any other reason than that I am unable to say, for I am me and not my teacher. I give this story one star out of five for a very simple reason. It is impossible to put into words how much I truly love this book. Having never met Cedric, it must have been Suskind’s impressive writing style that allowed me to feel as if I knew him for all that he is. Chapter one of this book is my favorite chapter for two reasons, one of which is because it was the beginning of my favorite book of all time. The other reason being that it was my first look into what type of person Cedric is. In the first chapter Suskind makes Cedric out to be this extremely interesting character, and yet there was still so much more to learn about him as the book continues. As for a least favorite chapter, I cannot say I have one, for each chapter shined in its own way and got better than the last, though none of the subsequent chapters ever reached Chapter One’s level. Although I hold great admiration for this book, the reason I give it one star is because I can. I have the power to lie.
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.
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.
Cheffner204 More than 1 year ago
Ms. Stewart AP Language & Composition 23,October 2015
Tasha__ More than 1 year ago
A Hope in the Unseen written by Ron Suskind is the novel for any particular individual searching for their hope in a situation. The novel focuses on the main character, Cedric Jennings, and his last two years at Ballou High School. Cedric is fairly known to be the smartest student at Ballou, but tends to struggle with the students that secretly wish to be him. Living in a home with a single mother takes a toll on him by physical appearance, but mentally Cedric knows his future plans. Being accepted into Brown University, an Ivy League college, you read about Cedric’s over turn as a person. Personally, the novel deserves a full five star rating due to the empowering message. Suskind has a way of persuading younger adults that their future is important, and no matter what you’re going through there’s a way out. My favorite chapter is seven because Cedric finally gets a feel of a new environment. He then realizes that something new will come along. Having a feel for diversity seeks a new beginning for Cedric. If you try hard enough and push yourself something great will come out for you.
Diamond Kelley More than 1 year ago
The novel, A Hope in the Unseen, by the award winning author Ron Suskind follows the life of a young, minority student named Cedric Jennings. Throughout the book, one gets to experience the realistically depicted life struggles and page turning situations through the mind of a determined student fighting for success. While reading the book for school within my AP Language and Comp. class, I am able to visualize the numerous issues one striving to make it out can face in this difficult world. Pertaining to minority high school students or students in general, this novel proves to have a purpose of not only entertaining but informing one of how life truly is in the real world. In my opinion I did not enjoy most of the novel due to the overall negative and pessimistic views of the main character. In reality, life can never be a perfect road, so to redeem itself the book does cover the many ups and downs that actually do occur in life. This makes the novel an even more heartfelt read with a connective nature that draws up many allusions and incidents to make one feel as if they are with Cedric the whole time. Suskind’s diction within the novel makes the book a simple yet stimulating read with a mixture of elevated and informal language. The slang used by the main characters appeals to the ethical side of the spectrum as almost anyone can relate to informal vocabulary and feel a part of the story. A large amount of the novel also expresses an emotional appeal. The author does a great job in evoking feelings of fear, hate, joy, sadness in relation to his choices of tone. Such great syntax and diction are used by the author that it is easy to get lost into the passionate emotions within the novel. With the aid of multiple characters such as Cedric’s mother Barbara and his best teacher Clarence Taylor, one is able to relate and feel a connection to people other than Cedric making the novel an even more intriguing tale. With the last chapter being my favorite, one gets to analyze the growth of Cedric into a man who is not afraid of standing up for himself regardless of what others think. This is in great contrast to the earlier chapters which I did not enjoy reading due to Cedric’s uncertainty and timidness. Reading this novel takes one a mental journey full of laughs, tears, disasters, and hope.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In Ap lang and comp, we read this book. The author is Ron Suskind. The class is to get juniors and seniors ready for college, and that Is what Cedric is getting ready for. It is very easy to connect with the book, and in some ways feel for Cedric. This also made the story encouraging. Being a teen, It would have an encouraging feeling. The story was good overall, although Suskind uses big words. I chose 4 stars because there were some parts that were not interesting. My favorite chapter is chapter 11. That is the chapter that Cedric comes back home. He realizes that he deserves better in life. From that point on, Cedric was extremely encouraged to do better. This book is a must read.
ALechuga More than 1 year ago
A Hope in the Unseen is written by Ron Suskind, it is a novel based on a true story. Cedric is an African American teenager, who lives in the most dangerous neighborhood imaginable. He always felt as if he did not belong there, so he uses education as a key to getting away from that sort of live style. Once his academic achievements pay off, he is offered a scholarship to Brown University. One of the 8 Ivy League universities. As he begins freshman year, he feels that he does not belong there as well. Cedric is exposed to many things for the first time, and it can become overwhelming. Cedric struggles with not fitting in at college, just as much as he struggled back home. What I love about this novel is that it is a quick read. It is also very easy to understand. Suskind uses a high amount of both diction and syntax, to create perfect imagery for the reader. He also uses pathos to get the reader emotionally involved in the novel. My ultimate favorite part of the book is the begging, chapter one. In chapter one, we are introduced to Cedric as well as the description of his school. Chapter one is the most entertaining to me, because I never know what to expect. I am being newly introduced to everything in the book, and not knowing what to expect makes the book all the more exciting. Especially with Suskind’s descriptive writing style. The one chapter that I did not like is chapter 9. I do not like the way Cedric begins to treat his mom after he leaves for college. He begins to treat her very rude and careless.
J_Fernandez More than 1 year ago
A Hope in the Unseen is a book written by Ron Suskind, an award winning journalist and the author of more than two New York Times bestsellers. This is the story of Cedric Jennings, a smart Ballou high school student. He did not have many problems following the teacher during high school until he goes to the MIT program, where he struggles to keep up with the classes. Cedric also struggles with many of his college classes. This is a good book for students to read because it gives them a sneak peek of what college is like. Students can be motivated once they read the book. Yes, Cedric had a hard time with his classes but working hard and being determined helped him pass them. A Hope in the Unseen is a really good book to read. Like many others, I enjoyed reading this book because it shows how the “American dream” can become true and it will not just be considered a dream. The book shows how Cedric becomes a better person than what he was when he was in high school. My favorite chapter is chapter 13, “A Place up Ahead”. This chapter proves that Cedric gets an A on his calculus test, even though he was not very confident and barely understood that class; he passed by studying hard for it. My least favorite chapter is chapter 6, “The Pretender”. In this chapter, Bishop Long cares more about the money than the community. It is my least favorite chapter because I do not believe that a preacher should talk more about money than the people. They should show the community to care for others, not show them how to care more about materialistic things.
Jayni1 More than 1 year ago
AP Lang A Hope in the Unseen is an amazing biographical novel. In 1998, journalist and author Ron Suskind published the novel. To prove it was such an amazing book, he won the Pulitzer Prize in Feature Writing for the book. Sukind based the biography off of teenager Cedric Jennings. Cedric was shown to be living in a rough lifestyle throughout high school and still made it to an Ivy League college. Many students in school would read this book because it would give insight to how students can proceed through school efficiently. The book demonstrates how Cedric dealt with many different problems while attending school. These problems came from family, society, and even within his self. Many students can relate to what Cedric went through in the book. They also can know what to expect when they get to college, so they can prepare themselves for the changes. Personally, I give the book a 4 out of 5 because it is such an informative novel. Many people who did not experience what Cedric did can learn things about different lifestyles besides theirs. I really enjoyed reading the book. Personally, I can relate to the book. Especially with problems involving family. The book gave me other ways to deal with similar problems. I also learned how I can deal with college efficiently next year. Throughout all the chapters, my favorite chapter is chapter 8 which is titled Fierce Intimacies. This is my favorite chapter because it focuses on affirmative action. It gives many different viewpoints of this topic. It also informs people who is not fully aware of affirmative action. I also like this chapter because it shows how Cedric deals with the college social life. Cedric is new to it and to read how he reacts is amusing. My least favorite chapter is chapter 4 which is titled Skin Deep. This is my least favorite chapter because it shows Cedric giving up and also losing his inner drive to succeed. I give the book a 5 out of 5 for Suskind's writing style because he writes very fluently and with an informative tone. Although, his vocabulary is more complex. He makes sure to include enough details so readers can visualize situations with Cedric. Suskind also writes in the voices of other characters to give other perspectives as well.
-Christine-S- More than 1 year ago
The critically acclaimed novel A Hope in the Unseen was written by award winning novelist and journalist Ron Suskind. The focal point of the story is the main character, Cedric Jennings, and how he manages to push past the obstacles limiting him from the future he wants. This novel sends a message: don’t let the fear of failure and uncertainty stop you from accomplishing any goal you put forth. Cedric’s obstacles are merely stepping stones in his path to success, and if he had let rejection get the best of him, he would have never done the unthinkable and applied to Brown. Because of Cedric’s bravery, he created a more solid foundation for himself, and he is a symbol of striving toward greatness rather than settling for anything less. I give the book a 5 out of 5 because of the easily the reader can connect to it. I enjoyed the book because it felt real. It didn’t feel anticipated or played out; it just simply felt real and inviting. There were some iffy moments that transpired where my brain I felt torn between Cedric’s beliefs as opposed to the other characters, but for the most part, the book was humbling. My favorite chapter of the book is Chapter 5 “To Him Who Endureth” because it was a lighthearted segue from Cedric’s time at MIT. This chapter is also where Cedric graduates, which is a huge deal for him and his family, considering the school has more of success than dropouts. My least favorite chapter of the book is Chapter 8 “Fierce Intimacies” because you can see a culturally diverse wedge growing farther and farther in between Cedric and his roommate. Suskind’s writing techniques include logos, compare and contrast, imagery, pathos, and complex vocabulary; logos is effective because it’s based on knowledge and statistics, which helps the reader instill more trust into the document, compare and contrast helps the reader see both sides or multiple perspectives on different topics, imagery paints a picture for the reader, allowing them to visualize the story clearer, pathos is an appeal based on emotional, and it tugs at the reader’s heartstrings, evoking emotion and sympathy from them, and the usage of complex vocabulary is an effective technique because it helps the reader delve into more of what the substance of the story is and not just look at what they see on the surface. I rate this book 5 out of 5 with their usage of literary techniques because they found multiple ways to effect and challenge the reader.
londongh21 More than 1 year ago
A Hope in the Unseen, written by award winning journalist and author Ron Suskind, emphasizes on the mechanics at both high school and college levels. This is done by following protagonist, Cedric Jennings, from his finishing years at Frank W. Ballou Senior High to his freshman year at one of the notorious Ivy Leagues, Brown University. The purpose of reading this book is unknown to me, but I would like to believe it was to understand how a author can apply rhetorical strategies and literary criticism to their work. Also, to become aware of the harshness of minority and/or poverty life in America, examine how society is based on social and financial status and how societal standards can mold a person. I would rate this book 4.5 out of 5. Personally, I liked A Hope in the Unseen, very much. Throughout the novel my favorite chapter is, "A Place Up Ahead". In this chapter, readers are able to see Cedric come out of his shell, opening up more and is freely expressing himself. He no longer dwells on things that are not in his control. My least favorite chapter is, "Fierce Intimacies", because his father is an absolute idiot. If you are about to get released from jail, why would you do anything to jeopardize that ? Suskind, uses multiple rhetorical strategies such as: logos, ethos, pathos, tone and elevated diction. He supports each by referring to a specific incident in Cedrics life. Just based off of his writing style, I would rate the novel 5 out of 5.
kKevinD More than 1 year ago
Ron Suskind is the author of "A Hope in the Unseen". Ron Suskind is an award winning author and journalist. The story of "A Hope in the Unseen" follows a young african american boy named Cedric Jennings. The book follows Cedric in his last year of high school at Ballou and his first year of college at Brown University. Cedric comes from a tough background where things were hard for him and his mother. Cedric is raised by a single parent in his mother, because of this his family struggled coming up. Cedric is a very intelligent individual who excels at getting good grades. Once Cedric made it to college he was in for a reality check because of the increased difficulty of the work and the abundance of educated people just like him. He also struggled with making friends socially. Cedric also had a lot of disadvantages to make it to his goals which makes his story more interesting. My purpose for reading this book was for school. "A Hope in the Unseen" was not a book i was forced to read because I liked it. This book teaches you that no matter the circumstances anything can be accomplished. "A Hope in the Unseen is a Sensational book. Usually in class studies on books are boring, but not this one. This book kept me pulled in and didn"t let go. My favorite chapter is chapter 13 "A Place Up Ahead" in this chapter Cedric reunites with his former chemistry teacher Mr. Teylor. In the story you can tell that both of them are very happy to see each other and the love is shown for one another. The time they spent together was brief, but you could tell that it was important. The chapter I dislike the most is Chapter 14 "Meeting the Man". In this chapter Cedric's mom Barbara almost gets her house taken away from her because has too much pride and doesn't want to ask for help even though she needs it. Cedric also visits his father in jail in this chapter. Chapter 14 is too sad for me. The author has journalistic writing style influenced by his occupation because in addition to being a writer he is a journalist. He also uses an advanced vocabulary that will leave you reading with a dictionary in your hand. All in all "A Hope in the Unseen" is a excellent book that i would refer to anybody.
John_Ayalahuakbar More than 1 year ago
A Hope in the Unseen is written by writer and journalist Ron Suskind. The novel tells the story of a young African American named Cedric and his road to becoming a promising Ivy League student. He has experienced what its like to live in poverty and still powers through it with his mother at his side, showing how strong he is emotionally. Nothing is impossible for anyone if you set your mind to it, much like Cedric throughout the novel. A hope in the Unseen was an average read with a great descriptions of how the characters flow throughout the story. My favorite chapter is chapter 2 because of the way Cedic's mother's lifestyle is described and shows her personality. I believe most can relate to this, as some live in the hardness she must endure by living in the ghetto most of her middle-aged life with a child being raised by herself. The entire novel is based off of Cedric's ordeals, but the addition of his backstory shows what a parent can do to help her child succeed the best of her abilities. I rated this book a 4.5 out of 5 because of it's deep emotional synchronization with Cedric as he endures the struggles of being accepted into an Ivy League college.
Mayra_T More than 1 year ago
A Hope in the Unseen, written by Ron Suskind, is the story of Cedric Jennings and his journey from one of Washington D.C.’s most dangerous and impoverished neighborhoods to the prestigious Brown University. There are many reasons why this is a good book for school reading, or just reading in general. The first reason is the main character himself; Cedric Jennings is a character many people can identify with, coming from a single parent household, a disadvantaged background, and his strong desire for success. Cedric diligently works in his academics to gain admission to Brown University despite his humble beginnings. The book shows the rewards of hard work, perseverance, and determination. The overall reason why this book is recommended for reading is the way it inspires people to do what is perceived as impossible. This book encourages people to do something despite the odds the same way Cedric made something of himself despite what the people around him thought. Overall, the book was a rather pleasant read; however it is not a book for everyone. This book is most definitely not the typical genre of book I personally read, however this book was definitely interesting, especially for a book read for a class assignment. My interest in the book varied from chapter to chapter, but my favorite chapter was Don’t Let Them Hurt Your Children because it went more in depth into the lives of the characters. This created a deeper understanding of the characters and gave a better sense as to their personalities. As far as Suskind’s writing, his previous experience as a journalist makes his writing style to the point and easy to understand. He provides enough information to enjoy the book without feeling overbearing. Overall, the author’s writing style and story create an interesting read for not only school, but for anyone looking for a motivating and fascinating book to read.
Michelle_Mitch More than 1 year ago
A Hope in the Unseen Book Review Pulitzer Prize and top journalist for The Wall Street Journal, Ron Suskind brings to life the story of a young black high school student focused on reaching the top in A Hope in the Unseen. Ron Suskind wants kids to see that they can make it only if they apply themselves. This story helps a lot of high school students around the world who feel like they cannot make it college. All they have to do is set a goal and work towards that goal. Suskind picks this particular story because Cedric is just an intelligent and quiet African American teen who goes out of his comfort zone and into the real world with many diverse cultures. This particular story is one many people can relate to, just being thrown into a different school or area and not making any real friends. Cedric’s story relates us young people all together in some little way. A Hope in the Unseen is a really fantastic book because you read about a brother (African American young man) trying his hardest to stay off of the streets and doing something with his life. The story is inspiring because you do not hear or read much about this from African American communities. Stories always try to bring this stereotypical black teen who either sells drugs or is involved with gangs in their neighborhood. Suskind’s use of ethos and pathos finally give people an uplifting story on someone other than celebrities and gives them something they can take from Cedric’s life. People can take some words of wisdom from Cedric and is his hard-working attitude. My favorite part of the story was in chapter 4 when Cedric and Professor Trilling talk about his grade. I love how when he spoke with Mr. Trilling he talked about how much harder he was going to work and how he was not going to give up without a fight. That whole page really hit me deep because I do not like giving up without a fight. Cedric’s will to learn really inspired me and most of my fellow peers. I rate this book a 10 out of 10 because of how much we can relate to Cedric and how much his story inspires kids around the world.
A_Ramos More than 1 year ago
A Hope in the Unseen, by Ron Suskind, is a novel based in the 1900s that concentrates on a minority family from Washington D.C. The purpose for reading the book is to depict a struggle the audience can relate to. The main character symbolizes an average American student on track to college. He represents the despair hard-working minority students endure. The author proves that hard work eventually pays back. The novel serves as a motivational purpose for the underprivileged. Schools can rate this book with four stars because of the educational influence it provides. The novel contained several interesting sections. The author’s writing style was admirable, filling the reader with fascination. Suskind’s use of symbolism, cultural and marxist criticism, alternating perspections, and compare and contrast helps enhance the writing’s effectiveness. Additionally, the characters exemplify symbols for the audience to better relate to the novel. Therefore, I would personally rate this novel as a four star and can guarantee a good read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Akeia Dyson Mrs. Stewart AP Language & Composition 23 October 2015 Review of Novel In A Hope in the Unseen by Ron Suskind, readers are introduced to a young man who struggles between identity and his academic ability which are two major themes in this novel. Suskind illustrates Cedric’s thoughts and feelings through the title of the chapters which indicates why Cedric makes some of the decisions he does. When reading and understanding the purpose behind the title readers will begin to love this novel. A Hope in the Unseen provides an outlook on education from an African Americans perspective revealing human issues. This book is a definite 10, because being an African American and experiencing similar problems, it is easy to relate. Ron Suskind’s use of imagery and diction specifies on what makes this novel enjoyable. In Chapter 14 when readers are “Meeting the Man” is one of the best chapters because readers get introduced to Cedric growing up. Remembering his actions in the beginning of the novel compared to the end makes readers feel like they have known him forever. Affirmative action is also revealed when Suskind give readers intake on how college administrators view minorities. Many people do not know the seriousness of affirmative action, but Suskind brings this to readers attention. Along with great chapters Suskind use characters to specify on why Cedric is “culturally fixed”.
bencaNOva More than 1 year ago
great book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ron Suskind's novel A Hope in the Unseen is an interesting and dramatic read about the struggle of minorities in America. Suskind aims for young readers facing the same situation the main character Cedric experiences. A Hope in the Unseen is about an intelligent minority teenager who is in poverty. He goes to and Ivy League college, which is a whole new world to him. He makes acquaintances and enemies I like how we get a glimpse of a successful yet challenging lifestyle Cedric lives. I also admire how suspenseful this novel is, although some parts of the story may lack tension. I will give this novel four out of five stars for its effective use of tone. A Hope in the Unseen is a superior quality book. This novel shows how someone can be successful no matter what their background they came from. My favorite chapter is chapter seven because he starts his new life at an Ivy League college surrounded by people at the same intellectual level. My least favorite chapter is chapter six since this chapter concentrates on his father, which is not interesting to me. Suskind’s writing style is outstanding, he uses many rhetorical strategies such as logos, pathos, ethos, and elevated diction in this novel. Every character is well thought out and relevant to this novel. I give this miraculous novel a four out of five stars. Suskind effectively uses rhetorical strategies, but fails to convey my attention when his father appears in the novel.
H_Phan More than 1 year ago
As a high school student one of the important things I have to worry about is college: Where am I going and what am I doing? So it is not surprising that one of the first books my AP class has to read is A Hope in the Unseen by Rob Suskind, a Pulitzer Prize winner and Journalist for the Wall Street Journal. It is about the struggles of Cedric, a high school student from a poor neighborhood trying to rise above his difficult circumstances. Throughout the book, he is struggling to prove that he deserves to be in an Ivy League school. Since he has a different background he has a cultural shock at how things in college goes. In his old school, students socialize and often make fun of those who do well in school but in college students easily go from having fun to studying for the next test at a moment’s notice. This was very much different from what he was used to and causes him to have issues connecting with others. But once he does however, the connections he makes helps him stay afloat throughout the book. While the book did have some issues I liked it since it portrayed some of the issues I am currently having and how Cedric managed to overcome them. In fact my favorite moment in the book was when Cedric was giving his speech at the end of Chapter 5, To Him Who Endureth. Suskind used imagery in a way that made me feel like I was right there with Cedric. Though there were parts where it felt forced and unnecessary mainly chapter 9, “Bill Payers on Parade” The scene where they eat did not really add much to the story in my opinion. Before that however was a look into another college family’s look. With that Suskind gives the characters depth; they are not cardboard cut-outs meant to pad the scene but people with motivations and aspirations. His use of syntax shows the difference between each and every one of them. It is even noticed in the story where some girls tease Cedric about the way he talks in a “southern and slangy way”. All in all, the book is an excellent read for those anxious for college. After all you do not have to learn from just your failures.
skylerthompson1732 More than 1 year ago
Ron Suskind is an award-winning author and critically acclaimed journalist. A Hope in the Unseen is a Pulitzer Prize winning novel. It follows the life of Cedric Jennings, a boy with great potential living in a hopeless community, through his junior year at high school to his freshman year at Brown University. Cedric symbolizes hope and perseverance, although all odds are against him. Many high students read this book because it shows that success it possible, relays a different perspective on minority struggles, and alludes to various rhetorical strategies throughout the novel. A Hope in the Unseen is a great book for a student to add to their literary portfolio. As a whole, I believe the novel is a phenomenal piece of literature. Suskind has a writing style that is sophisticated but relatable to a younger audience. His addictive plot, realistic characters, and empowering morals all contribute to this wonderful work of art. Suskind uses ethos, pathos, and honesty to ensure one's comprehension of the story's key concepts. The author uses ethos by incorporating African-Americans' perspectives on their own struggles. Pathos is evident in the story when characters completely expose their innermost feelings, making the reader a part of their emotional realm. Lastly, honesty is utilized within the novel so readers can feel the sincerity and realism the text includes. My favorite chapter of the book is chapter five, "To Him That Enudureth," where Cedric gives his graduation speech. This chapter highlights Cedric's drive, determination, and willpower that exudes from his speech, giving Cedric a deeper level of characterization. My least favorite chapter is chapter fourteen entitled, "Meeting the Man." I dislike this chapter because it does not have the climatic ending I intend for the story to have. With Suskind's use of rhetorical strategies, unparalleled writing style, and mind-gripping plot this novel deserves no less than a five out of five stars.