illustration of a car crash, a grave, empty liquor bottles, a basketball, and a young man crying

Tears of a Tiger

by Sharon M. Draper

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Student Question

How does Keisha assist her friends in Tears of a Tiger?

Expert Answers

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When Keisha wrote an essay on “the Importance of Friendship”, she says,

“Without friends, life would be boring, lonely, and meaningless. “ (pg 117)

Keisha sees the importance of a good friendship.  When the accident happens, she and Rhonda band together to give as much support as they can to the boys involved.  Rhonda starts dating Tyrone, and Keisha is already dating Andy.  Andy is suffering the most.  He is the one who was driving the car when Robbie Washington died.  Robbie was his best friend.  Keisha tries to support him by encouraging him to get his homework done and get to school on time. When Andy had his license taken away until he turns twenty-one, she has her mother drive them to the mall and places they want to go.  She tries to lift his spirits when they are low.  Andy tells his psychologist,

“She’s there for me when nobody else is.” (pg 75)

Keisha believes that,

“Friends make life exciting. … Going downtown alone is no fun. Going downtown with a friend can be an adventure.  (pg 117-118)

However, when they go to the mall, Andy gets depressed when he sees Santa.  He and Rob use to play tricks on Santa at the mall, so it brings back memories of a better time.  Keisha has to call her mother to pick them up.  Her friendship with Andy is beginning to drain her spirits. 

She ends her essay on friendship with,

“When the bad times come, like when Robbie died, a friend is the most important thing in the world.  Rhonda and I cried together, went to the funeral together, and tried to help the boys involved as much as we could.” (pg 118)

She is thankful for Rhonda.  Keisha has to share some of her woes concerning Andy with someone.  She says,

“Sometimes I feel so alone I just want to cry.  That’s why I’m thankful I have a good friend like Rhonda, who always has a strong shoulder for me to cry on.” (pg 118)

Andy leans heavily on Keisha, but, although she desperately tries to help him, his depressed state is more than she can handle.  However, she is a good friend and will not desert him. She writes in her diary,

“I’d like to ease up on our relationship a little, but I don’t know how without hurting him.  Well, he needs me, and he has been through a lot.  I’m sure not going to be the one to cause him any more pain.”  (pg 129)

Later, Andy, in an attempt at humor, acts badly at the talent show and is rude to Keisha.  She has finally had it and breaks up with him. 

The night before Andy’s suicide, he calls Keisha.  It is after midnight, and Keisha’s mother tells Andy that Keisha is asleep.  She is sure they will iron out their differences because Keisha cares a lot for him, but not that night.  It is too late.

After Andy commits suicide, the grief counselor has them all write letters to Andy.  Keisha writes,

“….The pain left by your absence is like a wound in our hearts that will not heal. ….So you are out of it and we have to stay here, feeling your pain as well as our own.  It really isn’t fair, you know.”(pg 176) 

However, she ends the letter with

“I love you……Wait for me.”  (pg 176)

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