Right Here, Right Now Characters

Trey Ellis

The Characters

(Literary Essentials: African American Literature)

The sole significant, fully rounded character in Right Here, Right Now is Ashton Robinson himself. Other characters are merely sketched, and most are stereotypes or caricatures, who provide a contrast with Robinson’s larger-than-life personality.

Despite his humble beginnings, Robinson has risen to the top of his profession as a charismatic motivational speaker largely as a result of his ability to blend self-confidence with self-deprecation. He has achieved fame, being recognized and admired wherever he goes. He has acquired a fortune, including a large beachfront house, his own television studio, expensive cars, and a healthy bank account that grows daily. His wealth affords him the capacity to eat at the finest restaurants, imbibe exotic drinks, jet to the farthest corners of the globe, and attract the most desirable women. His success has allowed Robinson to transcend his African American roots—he is reminded of his origins only when he visits with his middle-class family. He has become cynical and jaded; life is too easy. He needs a new challenge to give his existence meaning.

What Robinson lacks is something all his possessions cannot give him: satisfaction. During his drug-induced hallucination, he discovers that the component he lacks is spirituality. Not knowing where or how to find enlightenment, he gives himself a crash course in anything remotely connected to belief. He studies hypnotism, telepathy, dreams, out-of-body experiences, Buddhism, transcendental meditation, pyramids, crystals, tarot, Scientology, the Bible, the Koran, the Book of Mormon, and more.

Robinson picks elements from each discipline, adds a few doctrines of his own invention, and with the same fervor he applied to his self-improvement courses makes up a new religion on the spot. He proves by example that no matter how bizarre a belief, followers can always be found. By the end of the novel, he has learned this truth: Whether it entails getting ahead in life or in the afterlife, humans always seek more than they have.