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Evan Wilcox                                               English 101/11/2018 The novel, Darkness Before Dawn by Sharon M. Draper is the third and final story in the Hazelwood High trilogy. The first two books have to do with a friend group that goes to Hazelwood and deal with the problems that are brought with alcohol, driving while drunk, suicide, and child abuse. The third book starts off by introducing Keisha Montgomery, a member of the senior class and class president, as the main character. It follows her journey from being a typical high school student to becoming an adult and maturing throughout her time in Hazelwood. There were many cataclysmic events that happened during her time in high school. From her ex-boyfriend commiting suicide after driving drunk and accidentally causing one of his friends’ deaths in “Tears of A Tiger”. To Jonathan Hathaway, the principal’s son, captivating her and in the end attacking her with a knife because she didn’t want to have sex with him. Keisha, the dynamic character, changes from a childish, immature high school student to a more mature, sophisticated, young adult within Darkness Before Dawn. Chronologically, the first event that begins to change her is Andy’s death in “Tears of a Tiger”, she has to deal with the aftereffects of this in Darkness Before Dawn. “But soon it was clear that it was all too true. Andy had taken his own life. I felt dead, too. Like living was stealing breath. I felt like it was all my fault even though I knew it wasn’t. Andy had been really messed up inside since that terrible car crash last year.” (pg. 9). She eventually got passed this guilt trip and remembered Andy with happiness instead of shame and sadness by talking to friends, family,  and school counselors. She becomes a brand new person, she gets elected as class president, and finds a new boyfriend to focus on, Jonathan. One of Keisha’s friends describes Jonathan as a “snake hiding under a silver moon” (pg. 168) and a “gift wrapped in silence.”(pg 168). He takes her on multiple dates, to museums, theatres, parks, ski trips, and they end up dating, which is exactly what he wanted. After a school dance he takes her to his apartment where everything is set up perfectly, they end up on the couch where Jonathan goes too far and Keisha doesn’t feel like she’s ready for those things yet. She gets fearful for her life. “I was terrified. I no longer felt like an adult. I felt like a child who had jumped into the deep end of the pool and i needed help, quickly.” (pg 196). After escaping and telling people what had happened Keisha fell into depression and couldn’t even bare to look at herself in the mirror. She was extremely traumatized from what happened with Jonathan, and didn’t know what to do with her life anymore. Then, after hearing about what happened with Jonathan, one of the girls that had been previously assaulted came to Keisha’s side and gave her a talk that woke her up out of her depressed state. This showed her what she’s worth and how much she means to everyone around her. It made her want to go on with her life.Throughout the events of the Hazelwood High trilogy, Keisha goes from a young high school girl to a mature adult. She endured many stressful events and learned to deal with hardship, evolving with each traumatic experience, including Andy’s death, and the encounter with Jonathan. These occurrences had both shaped her into a more responsible adult. She ended her tenure in Hazelwood High by delivering a powerful speech that inspired the senior class for years to come.Draper, Sharon M. Darkness Before Dawn. Simon Pulse New York, NY 2001.

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