Cedric Jennings Character Analysis

727 Words3 Pages
At Ballou Senior High, a crime-infested school in Washington, D.C., honor students have learned to keep their heads down. Among the mere handful of students with a B average or better, some plead to have their names left off the "Wall of Honor" bulletin board; others hide during awards ceremonies; only a few dare to raise their hands in class. 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, son of a jailed drug dealer, will not swallow his pride, though each day he struggles to decide who he wants to be. With unwavering support from his mother, he studies and strives as if his life depends on it. The summer after his junior year, at a program for minorities at MIT, he gets a glimpse of life outside Ballou--an image that burns in his mind afterward and fills him with…show more content…
294). He goes to Café Paragon for Rob’s birthday party, “the kind of place he’s been warned against visiting his whole life” where there is drinking and loose behavior. It is smoky and loud, but people are glad to see him, and he suddenly feels fine. He has taken an important step. He has “an overpowering desire to break free from himself and dive into the flow” and not be conscious about where he is from (p. 296). Cedric Jennings is the main subject through whose eyes we see the struggle to get a good education. His story begins in Ballou High School in the black ghetto of southeast Washington D.C. Cedric is the youngest child of Barbara Jennings and Cedric Gilliam, a drug dealer who has spent a good part of his life in jail. Barbara and Cedric live in poverty, moving from one place to another. Barbara is a single parent and vows to keep her son off the streets by getting him involved in church and his
Open Document