Drs. Sampson Davis, George Jenkins, and Rameck Hunt discovered early in their friendship that they shared a disturbing trait: as children, they navigated dangerous inner-city life without a father’s guidance. In spite of this, they escaped delinquency and crime to form the Pact, dedicated to putting themselves on the road to success. Now, the Three Doctors make a new promise: to set aside their resentment, and rebuild the relationships with their fathers—men they barely recognize. Told in alternating voices between father and son, The Bond explores the hard lessons of growing up without a father and suggests ways to stem the tide of fatherlessness in communities across the country. Honest, brave, and poignant, The Bond is a book for every child and every family.
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This transition does a lot to set the reader up to understand the book's themes. When you read this sentence, you immediately understand that although the authors of this book have experienced pain and abandonment, the the book has a positive message. As you begin reading the accounts of each man, consider how he turns his story and experiences into a message of hope.
What is the most likely reason the authors have included this information in the introduction to the book?
Did you know that you can look up any word in the text of the book or the text of the questions and answers? Just click (or press on mobile devices) the word you want to define and hold until the blue text selector pops up. When you release, a define option will appear. Since it's so easy to look up words, make sure you use this feature frequently. Is there a word on this page you need to look up?
Which of the following statements best explains George's mother's reason for leaving his father?
How does George seem to feel about Heyward Mack? How does he use language to help you, the reader, understand what kind of person Heyward Mack is? Watch the video below to learn more about characterization. Even though Heyward Mack is not a fictional character, how does George reveal information about what kind of person he is? (This annotation contains a video)
Describe George's relationship with Heyward Mack. How does George characterize his stepfather? Use evidence from the text in your response.
Visit the website below to learn more about George Jenkins, the author of this section of the book. As you read, consider the author's perspective and message to readers. What has allowed him to be so successful despite the absence of a father figure? (This annotation contains a link)
Think about the article which you just read. Which of the following options describes what George is currently doing with his life?
The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial in Atlanta is a National Historic Site commemorating the Civil Rights leader's life and work. Why do you think George mentioned this piece of information here? Why is it important that he would have visited this place with Al and Ant's family? (This annotation contains an image)
How does George connect his experiences as a young man to the tone of hope that is established in the introduction to the book?
Have you ever found yourself in an unfamiliar situation or in new surroundings that make you feel like an outsider? What does this passage reveal about George's perspective, or the set of background experiences that inform his understanding of the world?
In the highlighted sentence, George Jenkins uses personification to portray his mirror as a guide or helper (it is his silent partner who keeps secret his attempts to shave properly). Explain the effect of this choice to use figurative language (personification) instead of a more literal explanation. Consider who should have been teaching George to shave.
George, Samson and Rameck have written a book about the pact that first made them famous. In it, the men describe how their supportive friendships and commitment to help each other find success resulted in each man finding and fulfilling his dreams. (This annotation contains an image)
Which of the following is the most significant reason for George's feelings of inadequacy amongst his dental school peers?
Visit the website in the link below and read the list of bulleted statistics regarding fatherless children. Which facts are most surprising to you? (This annotation contains a link)
Which of the following pieces of information from George's story best supports the statistics you read about in the article from the previous annotation?
As you continue to read the accounts in this book, consider why each author chooses to include the anecdotes or stories that he does. For example, what does the anecdote about Dax and his father add to the overall message of George's story?
Which of the following is the best synonym for the word hamper as it is used in the highlighted sentence?
American segregation was the deliberate separation of the races in society (including in schools, public areas, private restaurants and venues, etc.). While segregation officially ended in 1954 with the landmark Supreme Court case Brown V. Board of Education, it continued to exist in practice up through the 1960s and 70s (during the Civil Rights movement). Many insist that racial segregation persists today and is supported by underlying class and social structures that disadvantage people of color. (This annotation contains an image)
Which of the following best characterizes Elijah Prince according to the text?
Watch the video below starting from about the 3:30 mark. How does this video help you understand the "social climate" that affected George's father? (This annotation contains a video)
Why are these stories about George's early life included in this part of the memoir?
Based on what you have read, how do you think George would respond to this claim? Write a brief response from George to his father addressing the highlighted section.
What does George's father mean when he says "I guess it was just history repeating itself"? Why might this be an important theme in the book?
Which of the following does George's father cite as being the reason for his absence in George's life?
The metaphor of a wall for a blocked communication pathway in a relationship is an often used symbol. What is so poignant or effective about this metaphor? What do you think it takes to tear a wall down? How are they built? What other metaphor could stand in for this one?
Provide a summary of what the three students, George, Rameck, and Sam, learned from each other and how each helped the other to grow.
Both of the highlighted statements sound like motivational slogans. Where else do you see statements like this in the book? What effect do you think these sayings might have on a reader who has had an upbringing similar to that of the author. (This annotation contains an image)
Use the define feature to look up the word tangible. Based on what you learned, which of the following words do you think would be the best antonym for tangible?
Much like overdue fines at a library or penalties on late payments for a loan or mortgage, staying on top of college bills is not an optional responsibility. Relating this experience helps George show readers and young people that there are times in life when merit, desire, and drive are not enough by themselves. How does he encourage adults and mentors to help younger generations through this part of the challenge of overcoming challenges?
What does the author suggest might be the factor that helped Kenny bring his D up to a B in math class?
Most parents want to see their children surpass them in success, happiness, and wealth. How does George fill in as a parent? How does the role he plays contribute to what the defining importance of parenthood (specifically fatherhood) must be to him?
Which of the following is not a result of Najee's lack of a father in the home?
Companies often develop mission statements to focus the goal of the organization and establish, for customers, what is central or important to the company. While individuals may have mottos, not many people write established mission statements. What would your mission statement be? Take a minute to think about how your own life has shaped you and what your main goals are.
Explain why, of all the things boys need to learn from a father, lessons about sex are particularly important.
"Projects" is a term used to refer to government housing programs. Many times, government subsidized housing is located in high-poverty areas where tenants are on the lower end of the socio-economic scale. As a result, many housing projects become centers of crime and violence. JB Reed's photo below is one from a collection featuring Newark projects. As you learn more about Will, think about the influences that might exist in a neighborhood like this. (This annotation contains an image)
What is the underlying message behind each of the stories in these chapters?
This very short chapter at the end of George's section of the book is meant to leave you with a final bit of advice. Which of these "bread crumbs" do you already know about? Which ones do you think you need to implement more in your own life?
Quiz One - George Jenkins
In the highlighted sentence, Sampson Davis compares ______________ to a "laboratory for life lessons."
Why does Davis include this particularly violent story at the beginning of his chapter and right after his charming memories of watching The Cosby Show?
According to the PBS article on The Great Migration, which of the following is not a reason African Americans left the South to move to the North?
Visit the website below to learn more about The Great Migration. Pay close attention to the reasons many African-Americans migrated from the South to the North. (This annotation contains a link)
How does Sampson's household growing up compare to George's? Use details from the text in your comparison.
Nat "King" Cole was an American Jazz singer in the 1930s, 40s and 50s. He also hosted the Nat "King" Cole Show. Watch the clip below to hear his infamous baritone voice. (This annotation contains a video)
Reggie Brown is to Sampson Davis as ________________ is to George Jenkins.
Tae Kwon Do emphasizes the five principles of courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self control, and an indomitable spirit. How does Reggie use this tool to positively influence kids' lives?
Which of the following forces does Sampson Davis reveal often works against teenagers without strong father figures?
Can you think of any fashion accessories you've coveted? The photo below shows a Kangol hat like the one mentioned in the text. (This annotation contains an image)
Watch the following video to learn more about themes in literature. Which themes do you see developing in this book? (This annotation contains a video)
What does the story of Mike-Mike best illustrate? Consider the themes being developed in this book. Name at least one theme this story explores.
Kidney stones are actually crystalline mineral materials that form in the urinary tract. The stones are extremely painful to pass through the urethra and out of the body. While many people experience kidney stones (1 in 20) due to dehydration, health complications, or hereditary factors, not as many people are required to get surgery to remove them and are able to pass them instead. What does this tell you about Sampson's case of kidney stones? (This annotation contains an image)
What did Sampson's experience with cars likely teach him?
What do you think about this street code of ethics? Is it better to remain quiet and try not to be a tattle tale or to tell the truth? Have you ever been in a situation in which you had to tell the truth when it meant negative consequences for you or for a friend? What was the ultimate consequence for you? What do you think the ultimate consequence will be for Sampson?
Use the define feature to look up the word dissolve. Which of the following is an antonym for dissolve?
Watch the video below to learn more about what textual evidence is and how to make an inference. At the end of Sampson's section of the book, you will have a short quiz, much like the one at the end of George's section. As you read, keep track of the lessons Sampson learns, the people who help shape him, the ways he is motivated, and his characterizations of the people around him. What inferences can you make about Sampson, his life, or his message? These may help you later when you take the quiz for this section. (This annotation contains a video)
Sampson writes that a father's job is to make his children feel important, loved, and supported. Sampson says that many fathers fail to express this to their children, fail to "realize how important they are." Based on what you've read so far, provide an argument in which you explain why some fathers do not realize the importance of their role in their children's lives. Be sure to use examples from the text in your answer.
The image below is of census records from 1930. Unlike the electronic resources we have today, the process of collecting and storing data about the citizens of the US was much more tedious before the widespread use of computers. The process of researching this information is also more challenging. How does Sampson use this census data to reveal the characteristics of his grandfather and great-grandfather? What does this tell you about the men in his family? (This annotation contains an image)
The poem "There Will Be No More Tears in Heaven" comes from Revelation 21:4 "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." Considering the article's description of her, which do you think would be the best adjective to capture Sampson's grandmother's character?
From whom do you think Sampson collected this information? If his father wasn't able to tell Sampson his story, how could interviewing other members of the family help Sampson fill in all of the missing links and information? How do you think this shapes the way he has written this section of the book?
Sampson's father was motivated to move up North in order to ___________.
This rhetorical question introduces an important section outlining Sampson's own thoughts about the demise of his father's positive outlook on life. Sampson touches on many of the same themes that are present in other areas of the text. Underlying the themes of fatherhood and the struggles of youth, lie the themes of the effects of racial inequality and the consequences of poverty, lack of opportunity, and inadequate education. Notice how each of these themes overlaps to help you, the reader, understand the potentially devastating and long lasting effects of the cultural and familial cycles people get caught up in. How does this book advocate for recognizing and breaking those cycles?
Based on what you've read so far, what seem to be the differences between the North and the South during this time? Consider the reasons the Davis family left the South as well as the challenges they faced while there.
What happens to a dream deferred? Read the famous poem "Harlem" in the link below. How does Langston Hughes capture what happened to men like Sampson's father? (This annotation contains a link)
How was Pop's dream deferred?
Visit the website below and scroll down to the first table. Take note of the changes in HIV/AIDS percentages in each of the following categories: gender, race and region. What do these changes reveal about the Aids Epidemic? (This annotation contains a link)
After studying the table in the Centers for Disease Control website, what did you learn about the changes in HIV/AIDS in the United Sates between 1981 and 2000? What conclusions can you draw based on Table 1?
Use the define feature to look up the word wistfully. Which of the following is the best antonym for wistfully?
What does Sampson reveal with the inclusion of this anecdote about his father? Does his father somehow understand and regret his decisions? Does he feel sorry for not spending more time with his family?
What is the purpose of the tactics used by the Cops & Docs program?
Consider Sampson's approach with these students. What do you think makes him particularly effective with these young people?
Which of the following attitudes does Sampson suggest men change in order to be better fathers?
What do you think? Are there more influences and models for recklessness or more representations of the positives that come from hard work and good decision making?
The highlighted comparison between the two generations of absentee fathers is a ____________________.
Tiger Woods, the famous American golfer, often credits his father with giving him the drive, focus and motivation to excel in golf. How does Sampson's use of strong father-son relationships in this chapter help to illustrate what fathers and sons should be emulating? (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Sampson include this story of Sabu's experience going through the Xhosa ritual? What does that ceremony represent to Sabu? What do you think it represents to Sampson?
George's advice was for men to become positive mentors and role models to other young men. Sampson's interest here is in what he had to learn from being involved in the mentoring circle for one young man. How is the process of mentoring mutually beneficial?
Which of the following does Sampson use to support the argument that doing the right thing will lead to greater success and happiness?
One of the hallmarks of men who are able to break the cycle of fatherlessness is the ability to recognize the pattern in the first place. Notice the ways in which the men in these stories are able to do that. They might not all do it at the same points in their lives, but it seems to be this recognition that is key to progress in ending the cycle.
What can you infer about custody decisions based on Maurice's story?
Just as television and pop culture can provide young people with the wrong kinds of role models, it appears they can also provide positive examples. What does this say about how we should pick and choose which influences we allow to mold ourselves?
Use the define feature to look up the word uncanny. Which of the following is the best synonym for uncanny?
What emotion does Darrell Jr. express that many other sons in this book do not?
A recent article in Forbes magazine explores the misrepresentation of men in the media. Read the article in the link below and compare what you learn there to what you have read about male role models in this book. (This annotation contains a link)
Compare the main idea or message in the Forbes article to the central message about men as role models in this book. Be sure to use examples from both texts.
Quiz Two- Sampson
Notice Rameck's characterization of his father's actions as convenient. What does this say about the nature of making the right decision?
How does Rameck characterize his mother's attitude when she decided to have a baby?
Watch the video below to learn about archetypes in literature. Though this is not a work of fiction, can you see any patterns or molds into which certain characters fit? How is Rameck's mom an archetype? How does this book raise questions about the problems with such archetypes in our society? (This annotation contains a video)
Use the define feature to look up the word reminisce. Which of the following is a synonym for reminisce?
Have you detected any criticism of the women in this book? Do the mothers or grandmothers receive any of the blame for their choices or for the absence of fathers in the home? What are you thoughts on the portrayal of women in this book?
Explain the relationship between Sharon and Arlene as well as their treatment of the two children. Why have these women developed a sort of camaraderie?
What are the dangers of young boys teaching themselves to be men? What images and representations of manhood does Rameck latch on to? Are these the kinds of role models the three doctors would encourage young men to emulate?
What is the purpose of this story about Rameck's attempt to play football?
Rameck's assessment of his own logic is honest and forthright. What do you think motivated the young men to be so hypocritical? Watch the video below about perspective and point of view to better understand characters' (or in this case peoples') motivations. (This annotation contains a video)
Consider the story Rameck tells about beating up the crack addict. How do you think this story would have been told differently at the time? What does this reveal about how our perspectives change?
You have already learned about theme in general, but watch the video below to learn about how themes emerge in a text. Which themes do you see emerging here? (This annotation contains a video)
Which of the following themes is being developed in this section?
Leave It to Beaver was an American sitcom in the 1950s and 60s that portrayed a middle-class white suburban family. This wholesome, classic portrayal of the nuclear family is everything that Rameck's life was not. Why might his mother have become bored of this lifestyle? (This annotation contains an image)
Which of the following best supports the claim in the highlighted sentence that Rameck had to become the "man of the house"?
Do you think Mecca helped to speed up the process of Rameck's maturity? How did she force him to learn the lessons he needed to learn to behave like the kind of man the three doctors would be proud of today?
What does Mecca's story illustrate?
Is this an instance of real-life irony? If so, which kind? Watch the video below to learn more. (This annotation contains a video)
How is Rameck's description of his relationship with his father different from that of George and Sampson? What is the primary reason for Rameck's father's absence?
Where have you heard this story before? If this does't solidify the impact of the cycle of absent fathers on sons, what will? What other similarities do you recall from both George and Sampson's fathers?
The Black Panthers were a revolutionary self-defense, socialist, and black nationalist group that started in 1966 in California. Though they were often seen as controversial, the heart of their message resided in justice and community building. The Black Panthers ran community kitchens, health clinics, and other social programs. (This annotation contains an image)
Why do you think Rameck's father identified with the Black Panthers?
This feeling of detachment seems to be the default way for the fathers in this book to handle their emotions. What would have been a more productive way for these men to deal with the anxiety and pressure of their choices and circumstances? Why do you think they were unable to react in a more productive way?
Which of the following statements best supports the argument that drug addiction is extremely powerful and destructive?
Watch the video below to hear the three doctors talk about this book. At the 2:20 mark, Rameck talks about finally understanding his father's side of the story and hoping to open a "dialogue" about the experiences of fathers and sons. How do you think these chapters from the father's point of view achieve this? (This annotation contains a video)
After watching the video of the interview with the three doctors and reading this poem from Rameck's father's point of view, explain how you think the structure of this book has opened up a conversation or dialogue about absent fathers. What is the tone of this dialogue, and why are these sections of the text crucial to a meaningful conversation on the topic of the impact of fatherlessness?
What is the effect of this comparison of joy and pride to the high experienced while on drugs? What does it say that this kind of high was more exhilarating for Rameck's father?
Which of the following themes or central ideas does the highlighted statement support?
Even though this is not a work of fiction, the authors do employ a number of literary devices throughout their writing. How does the metaphor comparing desire to a leaping creature in the highlighted sentence add to or enrich your understanding of Rameck's father's transformation?
What does this shift reveal about Rameck and his siblings?
View the chart below to see the differences in white and black enrollment in college. Does this chart support the claim Rameck makes about his father's college attempt? (This annotation contains an image)
To what does Rameck credit the difference between the way his life turned out and the way his father's life did?
How does Rameck define manhood? Is this the same way the other men in this book would define it? Who did he learn this lesson from?
What message is Rameck trying to send his readers in this last section?
How does the quote below summarize Monica's experience? Consider that the experience of giving birth to a handicapped daughter and ending her marriage were the experiences that helped her find her inner strength for the first time. How does this same message echo throughout this book? (This annotation contains an image)
What is most likely the reason that Monica's mother didn't send for her earlier?
Why do you suppose Rameck chose to use the example of Monica's forgiveness in this chapter? Think back to the other chapters in which each author included the stories of other men who had overcome obstacles to be present dads or to rise above the limitations of a childhood without a father. How is Rameck's chapter (and maybe even his experience) different?
Throughout the course of this book, it seems that the three doctors have uncovered more commonalities between their stories and the stories of other fatherless children. What about amongst themselves? Compare and contrast the lessons that each of the men in this book have learned as a result of exploring his own father's life.
Quiz Three- Rameck