Stephanie Mason Andrew Baskin GSTR 110 October 5th, 2011 The Pact: Turning Points In a person’s life there are multiple turning points, some which are more crucial than others. Merriam Webster defines turning point as a point in which significant change occurs (“Turning Point”). While reading The Pact by Drs. Sampson Davis, George Jenkins, and Rameck Hunt, many turning points are discussed.
During the introduction, Davis, Jenkins, and Hunt states that “we are doctors today because of the positive influences that we had on one another” (2). Dr. George Jenkins was lucky enough to have his turning point at a young age, eleven years old, during an appointment with a dentist. He tells that “I don’t remember the dentist’s name, but I never forgot what he did for me. He gave me a dream. And there was no greater gift for a smart kid growing up in a place where dreams were snatched away all the time” (6).
This experience gave Jenkins the power to surround himself with positivity and he remarks, “I believe that kids who grew up in a less stable environment were more susceptible to pressure from friends to do the negative things that everyone else seemed to be doing”; from that observation he writes “I hung out with kids who were like me, trying to do the right thing” (Davis, Jenkins, Hunt 10-11). Dr. Rameck Hunt was not as lucky as Dr. Jenkins. At age sixteen Hunt states that “in my friends, I saw myself: boys trying to become men with few good examples” (78).
He knew that his friends participated in activities that were unacceptable; he states that his mother described them as “headed toward jail or death” (78). Although Hunt was aware of right and wrong he continued to follow and be active with his friends stating that “I was loyal. That was the code of the streets. These are your boys. You stick by them, and if necessary, you fight for them” (Davis, Jenkins, Hunt 78). Hunt did in fact fight, but it was alongside of them, and while trying to impress the group he stabbed a man. While describing this act he notes “I enjoyed the look of surprise and admiration in their eyes” (81).
Due to the stabbing Hunt had landed himself in a juvenile-detention center with attempted murder charges; they were eventually thrown out, but not before Hunt had learned his lesson. Hunt described the detention center as a “nasty, disgusting place” where he continued to write that “I felt caged, like an animal. I had to eat when guards told me to eat, play when they told me to play, and use the toilet with everybody watching” (85). This was the turning point in Hunt’s life, he states “so many of the guys seemed resigned to this kind of life” but for him he declared “the experience was barbaric. Never again. ’ I told myself. I didn’t want to spend my life this way” (85). All three of the doctors, whether realized or not, experienced a major turning point while in high school together. Jenkins, who already had a goal, writes “it was clear that, like me, Sam and Rameck wanted to make something of their lives” (69). A presentation from Seton Hall University about an educational opportunity program introduced the three to a program designed especially for minority students that would provide money for tuition, housing, and tutoring, plus more.
This opportunity included a Pre-Medical/Pre-Dental program that caught the attention of Davis. From the encouragement of Davis, there was a pact formed between the three of them. Davis explains the pact “we would apply to Seton Hall, go to college together, then go to medical school and stick with one another to the end” Davis goes on to write “we just took one another at his word and headed back to class, without even a hint of how much our lives were about to change” (72,73). Dr. Davis, at seventeen, experienced his turning point.
Like Hunt, he sought after the approval of his friends. Davis had taken part in a string of robberies with his friends and exclaims “we thought we were justified since we were just targeting drug dealers” (93). Although him and his friends did successfully complete a couple of robberies, they did eventually get caught by the police. Davis was placed in a juvenile-detention center where he claims “I felt ashamed” and continues to write “I was disgusted with myself”(97). Davis also states “I told myself I would never end up behind bars again.
Somehow, I would change my life” (Davis, Jenkins, Hunt 97). Since Davis had never been in any trouble before he received a plea bargain of a suspended two year sentence and two years probation; he would not have to serve the two years as long as he stayed out of trouble and followed his probation. Davis had spent four weeks in the detention center and from this experience he writes “I had never been so determined to succeed” and carries on to write “I could have gone to prison for ten years. Suddenly, spending eight years in college didn’t seem like a bad idea” (Davis, Jenkins, Hunt 97).
Although the turning points mentioned above for each doctor were not the only ones that presented themselves; they were in fact the turning points that ultimately pushed them forward, thankfully this was in a positive forward direction. All three of the doctors returned to the neighborhood that they had grown up in for their careers; after one of the guys that was involved in the robbery with Davis was shot and killed, he writes “Instead of turning out to be a young doctor treating guys like him, I could easily have ended up a hustler, lying on the gurney with bullet holes about to snuff out my life” (239).
This statement by Davis could have very well been true for all of the doctors yet in the epilogue it is stated that “when the three of us promised in high school to see one another through to becoming doctors, we had no idea how we’d make it” coming to an end it is stated “the pact filled us with motivation and purpose, giving us a reason to keep pushing when it would have been easier just to give up.
It provided us with a firm base of support, and it strengthened us to face the challenges that came our way” (248). Works Cited Davis, Sampson, George Jenkins, and Rameck Hunt. The Pact. New York, New York: The Berkley Publishing Group, 2002. Print. “Turning Point. ” Merriam Webster. Merriam Webster, 2011. Web. 4 Oct 2011.