Study Guide

Rhonda Jeffries in Tears of a Tiger

By Sharon M. Draper

Rhonda Jeffries

Most of the time when we hear from Rhonda, it's through her writing. We get to read her letters to her friend, her essays for English class, and even a message for Andy after he dies. We feel connected to Rhonda since she fills us in on the gossip—everything from how Tyrone kisses (so good) to what her dad said about her phone bill (not so good).

We also get a tender side to Rhonda through her writing that we don't see from other students. She tells us, "Last week I learned that kids my age could die. That was the most frightening experience I ever had. A boy that I knew real well, that sat next to me in study hall, died in a car crash" (6.1). She's dealing with some pretty heavy stuff, even though she wasn't in the car accident. Importantly, through her character, we get to see just how traumatic this crash was to the people around Robbie outside his immediate circle of guy friends.

She also doesn't shy away from the hard truths. When Andy dies, she says in her letter to him: "I'm not through with you. Your mom found you, or what was left of you. Did you think about her?" (44.11). Rhonda makes it clear how much Andy's choices affect people around him. It's not just about how he was feeling or who was there to help him. His decision to end his life hurts others who want him around.