Study Guide

Devon Hope in Bronx Masquerade

By Nikki Grimes

Devon Hope

Devon might be good at basketball, but he's tired of people thinking that's all there is to him:

Jump Shot. What kind of name is that? Not mine, but try telling that to the brothers at school. That's all they ever call me.

You'd think it was written somewhere. Tall guys must be jocks. (14.1-2)

Devon's poem—"Bronx Masquerade"—actually serves as the title for the whole book. His struggles nicely mirror the same thing all the kids in Mr. Ward's class are going through: The outside world sees them one way, but they know they're different inside. If only there was a way to let people inside and show them what they're feeling… Ah, yes, poetry should do the trick. For Devon's part, poetry inspires him to open up about his love of books and jazz with his teammates:

Forget this. Tonight our team plays Bronx Science. When I get on the bus with the rest of the guys, I'm taking a copy of Baraka's book with me to read, and I'm gonna make sure everybody sees it. Especially Mike. (41.15)

He's done pretending to be someone else; he's not going to hide his interests just because they make other people uncomfortable. That's some fine learning and growing right there, and just like his classmates, we see Devon start to come into his own.