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Avoiding Peer Pressure in "The Pact"

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George believes the most accurate way to avoided negative peers is to choose your friends wisely, since your friends help shape how you behave. This is because every kid wants to be with the popular crowd, and to be accepted because being an outsider through Middle and High school is a kid’s worst nightmare. This can shape a child’s behavior, attitude, and choices they make for the rest of their lives based on their experiences through their teenage years. George chose his friends based people who wanted to be positive and do the right thing. However, choosing your friends is just a part of avoiding negative peer pressure because you have to have positive people throughout your life. With George, you see this from the dentist who gave him a dream, his hard working mother, his third grade teacher, and his friends Sam and Ramick. The way to avoid negative peer pressure is to surround yourself with positive, hard working people who believe in you.

George has a different view from the other protagonist in the book. When the story starts, you can see his eagerness to learn and how well he is able to retain the knowledge given to him from his dentist appointment. You can see the idea of a dream, a possibility forming in such a young mind and it is different from the other protagonists. However, just having a dream isn’t enough; you need people to help you thrive. I feel his third grade teacher, Ms. Johnson, gave him that encouragement. He even goes on to say “I loved school. My third grade teacher Viola Johnson was largely responsible for that.” She always told her students that they must go to college, to not worry about the money and to just get that degree. This showed him that anything was possible if you have a positive attitude and work hard. She never wanted them to think that they couldn’t have wonderful experiences because of what other people considered to be the ghetto. She took them to plays on Broadway, and got scripts from the plays so they could have rehearsed them. She made them believe that anything they wanted to do was possible as long as they worked hard to achieve it. She was a positive influence that drove George to keep on with his dreams, and to this day he remembers what she did for him. “She made a lanky, mild manner kid growing up in a tough place feel smart and special.”

George has many influences in his life, but it was his mother’s hard working spirit that kept George on the right path. She was the dominant figure in his life who showed him that working hard and doing what you needed to do was how you succeed in life. You never saw her rewarding them for doing what they were suppose to do, yet she never left them needing anything. She divorced her husband and moved into the projects in Newark, and George even noted, “She was a proud woman who didn’t like living in public housing.” She was raised on a farm, and that made her independent and determined, which was noticed by her children. George never saw misfortune break his mother, and she fought to keep her children healthy and happy. This influenced George to not disappoint his mother. You can see this by his decisions not to hang out with kids who were selling drugs or getting into trouble due to an unstable home life. George mentioned “Many guys I knew sold drugs because they felt they had no choice,” and despite this, George stayed on the straight and narrow path. He knows that his mother is a driving factor on how he avoided peer pressure and chose friends that were a positive influence in his life. George’s relationship with his mother is one of the driving factors in his life that kept him out of negative situations.

It is easy to see that George formed a close friendship with Sam since they both loved the same things, such as school work, baseball, basketball and fashion. George quotes, “I tended to lean towards people who offered a balance.” His friendship with Sam gave him the ability to test his intelligence, and help him get a spot in University High School, which is one of three magnet schools in Newark. Even when Sam began to have his loyalty tested by different friends, he never allowed it to poison his relationship with George. Their grades began to slip because they felt unchallenged in their new school, but they still stuck together. Even when Ramick and Sam started drinking, they never pressured George into it because they respected his ability to be himself and not be persuaded by peer pressure. It was when Ramick really became their friend did they realize how much they had in common, and how they all wanted to have more for themselves. George, Sam, and Ramick all wanted to go on to college and make something of their lives, even though they it seemed unlikely.

One day, when the recruiter from Seton Hall University attended their high school, everything changed. The Pre-Medical/Pre-Dental program is one of the several initiatives under the umbrella of the education opportunity program created at Seton Hall in 1964. The EOP allows poor students who have the ability to succeed in college.  He found away to go to school for free, and after a little time, both Sam and Ramick gave in and applied to go to college together. In early spring of his senior year, George got an interview at Seton Hall. When Carla Dickson asked George why he wanted to be a doctor, he told her the story about the dentist who gave him the dream. After the interview with both Sam and Ramick they discovered that they would all be attending Seton Hall. “Finally, Ramick and Sam decided that the program at Seton Hall was too good to pass up. We didn’t say anything more to solidify our pact, but from then our commitment to each other became stronger, and we began to plan our futures together.” When George was sitting at his High School graduation, he didn’t know if his dreams would materialize, but at least he knew he wouldn’t face the future alone.

In the end George, became a Dentist and his friends became doctors. He accomplished this by avoiding the negative peer pressure that challenged him every day of his life. He had and choose to be around positive people who encouraged him and believed in him. If it wasn’t for his hard working mother who made sure his life was stable, then he would have fallen into the bad crowd, started selling drugs, and may have never meet Sam or Ramick. His mother was the driving force of positive, and was the stability that influenced his choices and behavior. George quotes, “I followed the same pattern, and chose friends who did well in school and still liked to have fun.” Throughout Georges life you can see how he is able to avoid the negative pull of their peers based on his role models in his life, from his third grade teacher, to the dentist, and his friends with whom he had made an unspoken pact to become more than what they had ever dreamed. George even states, “That without these people that helped shaped my life, I would never be where I am today.”

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Avoiding Peer Pressure in “The Pact”. (2019, July 10). GradesFixer. Retrieved January 29, 2022, from
“Avoiding Peer Pressure in “The Pact”.” GradesFixer, 10 Jul. 2019,
Avoiding Peer Pressure in “The Pact”. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 29 Jan. 2022].
Avoiding Peer Pressure in “The Pact” [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2019 Jul 10 [cited 2022 Jan 29]. Available from:
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