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The Pact Project

Covers deep analysis on plot, characters, relationships, themes, and applications to Freud's Psychoanalytic Theory.
by

Joel Swanson

on 30 May 2014

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Transcript of The Pact Project

Characters cont.
Rameck:
Characters
George was the most privileged of the three boys because his mother was able to hold a stable job. Because he lived in a somewhat stable household, he was able to focus more on school, and didn't turn to drugs and violence when times got rough. George was the one who came up with the pact because he had dreamed of becoming a dentist. And eventually, he did become a Dentist.
Characters cont.
Sam:

Freud's Psychoanalytic Theory Continued
Boys wish to possess their mothers,
Cannot completely do so as long as the mother pays some attention to the father.
Result: a “murderous rage” against their fathers,
and/or a process of learning to identify with their father in hopes of someday possessing a woman like their mother.
Oedipal Complex:

George


Divorced with husband, George Jenkins
Proud, hardworking, and strict mother—adored by George
“…her determination and consistency stabilized our lives. I never saw life break her down” (7).


Divorced Ella when George was a toddler
Visited a few times while George was in high school
Sent money occasionally
Attended George’s graduations
“…we never spent the kind of time together that builds a relationship” (7).
Never learned to really identify with father
Lost without paternal bond


Married then left George’s mother.
“He wasn’t unkind, and I know at times he must have felt like an outsider who could never quite break into the tight triangle that was my mother, my brother, and I” (8).
George never learned to identify with him



“He treated me like I was one of his sons” (9).
Took George fishing and to work out at the gym
Took George out to eat
Brought him gifts from his travels
Had George play on his baseball and basketball teams
George learns to identify with Mr. Jackson
“Mr. Jackson always let me know he believed in me” (9).
Gains same kind and fatherly attributes as well as a good personality
Supports Rameck and Sam during college’s rough times
Believed in them like Mr. Jackson believed in him


Shahid:
Hey boys! You won’t believe what I got my hands on for you in Miami!
(George’s friend receives gifts, leaving George to feel out of place)
Shahid:
Hey there Doctor, don’t think I would forget you!
(Hands George signed basketball, and George smiles up in awe and gratitude)

The Id, Ego, and Superego
Id- The Basic Desire
"Location of our drives"
Ego- Reality
Focused on the reality
Superego- The opposite of the Id
One's Conscience
Imagined Scene

Never leaned how to read
"Her sole job was to take care of the family”(18)
Loved deeply by Sam: “My eyes took in everything, and…Moms was the first person I turned to for an interpretation…(she) has always been a nurturer” (16).
“Moms relied on a power greater than herself to raise black boys in an era when the streets were claiming too many” (18)

Sam
Mother:
Ruthener Davis, “Moms”

Mother:
Ella Jenkins Mack
Fought with wife, hitting her and pulling out his gun
“When they fought in front of us, my brother and I clung helplessly to each other until one of our parents walked away” (20)
Divorced Ruthener
Left with paycheck but paid mortgage
Came to important parts of Sam’s life: baseball games, graduations, school programs
Sam forced to try and identify with father, but never could: “I felt responsible for helping her take care of the household” (21)


Father:
Kenneth Davis

Martial arts teacher
Great parental role model--used to identify with by Sam
“In Reggie, I saw what I wanted to be: a good guy who commanded respect from the streets in a way that was different from everything I had seen” (35).
Sam will become this figure as a doctor of Newark, revered by his peers

Positive Paternal Figure:
Reggie
Prediction:

Rameck (age 7) is visiting his father in prison with his mother
Rameck:
Hey Pa!
Father:
Hey there kid. Do me a solid and don’t find yourself in daddy’s orange clothes when you get older. God knows I can’t lose you to the streets.
Mother:
Freddie, don’t go making the boy have shame in his own daddy. (Turns to Rameck) But you listen good to how you shouldn’t get on no streets when you get older. Boys die on those streets.

Imagined Scene:

Rameck will have relationship issues when regarding connecting on a deep level with his future wife/partner and children
Having identified himself with his father, he has subconsciously rationalized his father’s behavior and may integrate it with his own when placed in a fatherly role

Prediction:
George is at his friend’s house when Shahid comes home from travel
This piece of artwork represents the chaos of the streets where Sam and Rameck lived. It also shows the struggle that the boys faced while trying to survive and get out of their neighborhood.
Methods of keeping conflict buried in our subconscious.
Examples included
denial
, selective memory, projection, fear of intimacy, and fear of death.
However, we unconsciously ‘play out’ our conflicted feelings.
Defenses:
Denial
: an outright refusal to admit or recognize that something has occurred or is currently occurring.

Sam’s Denial:
Examples of Freud's Psychoanalytic Theory
Rameck

Rameck stabbing drug addict who was on the school grounds.

Id: His desire to be cool like his friends and beat the man up and stab him.
Ego: He decides to stab the addict and become popular, so he can have greater credit on the street. This will create a safety net for him and his family.
Superego: It is morally wrong to stab someone, and although his conscience knows it is wrong, demonstrated when he shows some restraint, he still goes through with the stabbing.
Sam has experienced traumatic events
seeing his parents fight and beat each other
finding a crack pipe in Fellease, his favorite sibling’s, room
his father’s abandonment
“I had a make-believe spot on the back of my mind…where I placed my bad experiences, stored them, and sealed them forever (or so I thought)” (25).
Carla, a mentor figure, helps Sam overcome his denial at Seton Hall
“Whenever a family matter bothered me, I just shoved it into my inner “box”…She(Carla) talked me into letting all the hurtful things out, talking about them, dealing with them for the first time” (126).

Sam will never fully disable this mental characteristic, but will tame it to a controllable position
Carla acts as an integral role for this process, teaching Sam to release his feelings and deal with them in a healthy way

Prediction:

George:
George’s Dentist: He inspired George to become a dentist at a very young age.

Ella Jenkins Mack: George’s mom who is described as a proud, determined women. She didn't reward her children for doing what they were expected to do.

George Jenkins Sr. : George’s dad who left George without a fatherly bond.

Shahid Jackson: He is Shahid, Jr.’s father, he also treated George as his son. Very positive influence.

Viola Johnson: George’s 3rd grade teacher. She told him that he could go to college and have a great career.

George’s closest thing to a father:
Shahid Jackson

Having a substantial paternal role model during his childhood, Sam will be a kind and functional father.
His mother’s nurturing personality has subconsciously become apart of his own, an will show once he takes care of a family as well as his friends, Rameck and Sam

Ella’s first husband and George’s father:
George Jenkins
Ella’s second husband and Garland’s father:
Heyward Mack
Ma/ Ellen Bradley: Rameck’s grandmother who was also like a mother to him. They were very close.

Arlene Hunt: Rameck’s mother who was a junior in High School when he was born. She doesn’t get along with Ma. Drug Addict. Partied a lot.

Rameck’s father: Heroin Addict. Spent most of Rameck’s childhood in prison. Told Rameck to have a better life than he had.

Mrs. Hatt: Gifted and Talented director who was very encouraging to Rameck.

Miss Scott: Tried to get Rameck into Acting school, believed in Rameck.

Miss Ransom: Drove Rameck to school in the mornings. Was very supportive.

Prediction
10 years later…
All of the doctors move back to their hometown and work at or near the Beth Israel hospital in Newark. Sam will work in emergency care, Rameck will work in the research center of the hospital, and George will open a dentist office somewhere in Newark.

Furthermore all of these doctors will be married with families and and will try to be better role models than their fathers were to their children and to their community. They will go talk to their fathers later in life for advice on how and how not to raise their children.

Conversation between Sam and his mother 10 years later...
Sam:
"Hey Mom, so I've got a family now"
Moms/ Ruthener Davis:
"Well that's great honey, but you need to raise those kids right, not how me and your father raised you and your brothers and sisters.
Sam:
"How?''
Moms:
"Well, keep their bellies full and their mind off the streets."
Freud's psychoanalytic theory (cont.)
Sam
When Sam and his friends were robbing inexperienced drug dealers, Sam was the get away driver until the police showed up.

Id: His desire was to not get caught by police and taken to jail.

Ego: He ran away from his friends, all of who caught and sent to jail

Superego: Sam's superego was to stay behind and help his friends get away, however later int eh chapter Sam turns himself in to get his car back, and to take punishment from the law rather than from his friends when they get out of prison.
Freud's psychoanalytic theory (cont.)
George
George and Rameck were seriously considering becoming rappers after their first recording session.

Id: George had the desire to be loved, popular, and rich

Ego: His dream was not to become a rapper however it was to become a dentist so that he can help people.

Superego: His conscience told him to play it safe to follow his dreams, as it would not break the pact and be much more reliable.
This picture has a great deal to do with
The Pact
, as it has three paintings in it, relting to the three men. These paintings can symbolize the three men's personalities or events in their lives. However all these paintings have the same color scheme, showing common goals between the three men. The swirls in the painting could represent any infinite number of beliefs, but I interpret them to symbolize the chaos that has happened in their lives, and their unique personalities.
Positive/ Negative Influences
Positive/ Negative Influences
Plot Summary
Three high school students from Newark, New Jersey who succeed in school and were determined not to use drugs meet in high school, brought together by their common drive and morals, work together and support each other on their path to becoming doctors. They go to college together and stay close throughout medical school, having many ups, downs, and adventures throughout their journey.

Background- George
-Sees dentist at a very young age and decides that he would like to be a doctor someday
-Mother had a steady job- George had the most comfortable/safe home as a child
-Stepfather left them when George was young
-Friend’s father, Mr. Jackson, was a strong father figure for George in his youth
-Very loving mother and babysitter that both took good care of them
-Older brother wouldn’t allow him to hang out with his older friends because they were a bad influence
-People who were involved in drugs and other crimes didn’t bother George, they allowed him to make good choices
-Third grade teacher, Mrs. Johnson, was a very good influence that made him love school and learning

Background- Sam
-Strong, caring mother- calls her ‘Moms’
-Parents fought a lot
-Father divorced his mother and left when he was a boy, cared about him but wasn’t around often after that
-Very religious family, mother tried hard to give back to their community
-Struggled hard to get by, often needing a lot of help from neighbors and family
-Very close to his older sister Fellease, who began to be use drugs
-Repressed all of his painful memories- ‘put them in a box’
-Older brother Andre didn’t allow Sam to hang out with him/his friends- protected him from bad influences and harmful activities
-Because of the effects of crack on their society, Sam’s home was broken into multiple times
-Very good student, but felt almost ashamed of this and often claimed to have cheated when asked about his good grades

Background- Rameck
-Lived with his mom and grandmother- called grandmother ‘Ma’
-Ma was the ‘steadiest person in his life’ but often didn't get along with his mother, causing internal conflict for Rameck
-Got very much attention from his family
-Wanted to be an actor/performer from a young age
-Did well in school- in an advanced program
-Mother was very strict about getting good grades
-Father was in jail often- he had gotten hooked on drugs- however he told Rameck not to make the same mistakes that he did and still cared deeply for him
-Performed in plays during high school, making him popular
-Helped organize the protest that granted black/hispanic history courses in their high schools
-Almost got kicked out of college multiple times- got in a fight, shoplifted
-Most devoted to becoming a rapper during their time as performers


Timeline- High School/College
The boys meet in seventh grade at University High School
All three of them begin to slack off during their high school careers, but become focused again and apply themselves to their schoolwork
Occasionally would meet up with their old friends, almost always getting themselves into trouble
Found out about Pre-Medical/Dental Plus program which would allow them to go to college and med school with good financial aid
Begin courses at Seton Hall- first must go to summer program to prepare for college
Sam and Rameck spend a period trying to make it as rappers, and befriend Biggie Smalls, but decide that they should focus on their educations
Eventually move on to medical/dental school, face many struggles but come through and achieve their goal

Teenage mom who became a heroin addict
First deeply loved by Rameck
“She and I went everywhere together…Those were the happiest days I ever spent with my mother” (44)
Introduced to drugs—habit got in the way of Rameck’s love
“Slowly, her addiction transformed her from the ambitious, loving, attentive mother I adored into a needy woman I struggled to forgive” (41)
“…the thing that hurt me the most was that it (her addiction) robbed her of something I always thought came naturally: a mother’s instinct” (51).

Rameck
Mother:
Arlene Hunt

Heroin addict who spent most of Rameck’s early life in jail
Rameck never could identify with father
“I always longed to be close to my father…I thought jail was where my father lived” (47).
Identified with father’s bad habits
“He (Rameck’s father) told me he was living a lie and was tired of watching his friends die around him…It would take a short stint in juvenile jail at age sixteen for me to realize finally that I was following my friends to a place of self-destruction” (50).
Used
murderous rage
against father taken out on stranger
He and his friends severely beat up a crack addict in the back of an elementary school
“I punched and kicked, too, thinking to myself he was probably somebody’s father, in the back of an elementary school smoking crack when he should have been at home” (81).

Father:
Fred Howard Jones, Jr.
Sam grew up with an uneducated mother who was unable to get a job. Also, his father didn't have a major role in his life. Because of these factors, Sam had more responsibilities growing up than most kids. Eventually, near the end of the book, Sam became an Emergency Room doctor.
Rameck was the least privileged of the three boys. Both of his parents were drug addicts and his father spent most of Rameck's childhood in prison. Because of his adult role models, Rameck gets into a lot of trouble with the law as a boy. Luckily, he made a Pact with two of his friends and became a Gastrointestinal Doctor.
fineartamerica.com

George will subconsciously have the most fatherly instinct when compared to Rameck and Sam
Shahid has integrated these qualities into George’s subconscious in the early years of his life

Prediction:
Themes
Friendship, good and bad
positive peer pressure vs. negative
Racism
societal conflict
Perserverance
pursuing dreams
never giving up
Loyalty
not straying away from The Pact
Sources:
Google images
hamada1404 on bubblews.com
keithgarrow.com
The Pact
pixels.com

Positive/ Negative Influences
Moms/ Ruthener Davis: Sam’s mom. Doesn’t know how to read. Couldn’t get a job because she had little education. Let any relative who needed a place to stay stay with her.

Fellease: Sam’s older sister. Sassy and fun-loving. Drug addict. Sam was closest to Fellease. Positive and negative influence.

Reggie: Sam’s Kung-Fu instructor, taught Sam meditation, and kept Sam away from drugs.

Ms. Sandi Schimmel: Told Sam that he should try to get into University High School.

Carla Dickson: Accepted the boys into Seton Hall. Helps the boys with emotional problems when they want to give up. Stands up for Rameck when he almost gets kicked out of Seton Hall.
Four young men make a promise to do Freudian analysis of
The Pact.
Joel Swanson, Tony Schulz, Evan Howell, and Zack Turner
'Imaginary' Scene
Rameck visits his childhood home and runs into his old friend, Marley.
Marley:
Hey, Rameck? Remember me?
Rameck:
Marley? How have you been?
Marley:
Not so great. Things have gone pretty bad here lately, especially with drugs.
Rameck:
I'm sorry to hear it. I'm not living here anymore. What's happened to all of our old friends?
Marley:
Most of them have been to jail once or twice. Bookie's been on and off of crack for years now, but it's not looking good.
Rameck:
Wow, that's horrible! It could've been me if I hadn't been so lucky.

This painting portrays a father and son spending time together, and the son trying to act like the father. This is the relationship that Sam, George, and Rameck wanted to have with their fathers. Having good paternal role models would have made it easier for them to make good decisions.
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