A Hope in the Unseen & King Leopold’s Ghost by Cedric Jennings & E.D. Morel

October 22, 2012
By Abhinav Saikia GOLD, Plainsboro, New Jersey
Abhinav Saikia GOLD, Plainsboro, New Jersey
19 articles 4 photos 0 comments

The desire to succeed is fueled by the fear of failure and the drive of determination. With commitment and sacrifice, any challenge can be overcome no matter how difficult the task at hand. Though individuals may confront their obstacles in different ways, they share the willpower and mental fortitude required to triumph against adversity. This is especially true of Cedric Jennings in A Hope in the Unseen and of E.D. Morel in King Leopold’s Ghost, who face vastly different conflicts with contrasting methods, but possess the grit and confidence to believe in themselves and in the causes they champion.

Though Cedric is a victim of poverty, he does not succumb to it; he uses it as a form of motivation. In the hallways of Ballou High School, he witnesses his peers fall prey to a vicious cycle of drugs and violence. In such an environment, education is of secondary importance for most students, who graduate into a life of hard toil and little material gain. Most students conform to the norms of a society where any achiever is instantly singled out and ridiculed. Cedric is such an outcast, but he stifles his anger and frustration and lets it flow into his studies. He isolates himself from those who deride him or fail to understand his ambition.

By shunning himself from others, Cedric is able to block out the malevolent influences in his life. He can hold on to his dream of transcending his poverty and achieving something meaningful. Barbara Jennings has taught Cedric to believe in the omnipresent nature of God and to trust in his ways. Because he craves structure and approval, Cedric accepts these tenets and is a strong participant in Church. He feels welcome in this environment where no one judges him and his insecurities slip away once he utilizes his powerful voice. However, his reliance on religion and abstinence prove to be both a blessing and a curse.

Cedric is accepted into Brown University and is forced to find a medium between his conservative views and the carefree attitudes of his peers. Cedric is loath to indulge in the raucous behavior of his classmates because he feels that drinking and doing drugs would be a betrayal of all the principles that he had served him so well throughout his adolescent years. He also needs to develop a relationship with people of other cultures or races without constantly scrutinizing for racial tension. His ability to blend and socialize with people unlike him has been compromised by his dependence on the rigidity of religion and his self-imposed isolation.

E.D Morel deals with his conflict in a far more vocal and publicized manner, but attains complete victory as well. Morel’s method of success is born out of necessity because he needs to raise international furor. Only he, a mere merchant, infers that King Leopold has deceived the Western Civilization. He is not blinded by ignorance of Africa or by the superiority complex imposed through Social Darwinism. Rather, he is gripped by incredible moral fury and a desire to attain justice for the genocide of which few know. Morel sacrifices his job and his health in order to devote himself fully to the cause of publicizing the horrendous nature of the Congo State. He needs to unravel the blinding web of diplomacy that Leopold has spun and show that atrocity and slavery reign supreme in the Congo rather than free trade.

The author's comments:
Abhinav Saikia
High School North

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