Between the World and Me

Characters

Kenyatta Matthews

Characters Kenyatta Matthews

Though Coates provides little insight into Samori’s mother, Kenyatta is still a very important character. Coates was drawn to her because she understands the concept of cosmic injustice. She is a searcher, like him. When they meet at Howard, she knows more of the world than Coates, acting as a bridge between Coates and worldly knowledge. She grew up without a father and gives Coates a new insight into how a woman fears for her body in ways that a man does not. She is both a gentle and adventurous character, evidenced by her treatment of Samori and her travel experiences. She teaches Coates how to be gentle with Samori, and she gives both Coates and Samori a softer love that Coates did not experience with his own parents. Kenyatta’s solo trip to Paris demonstrates her strength, and she transmits this adventurous spirit to Coates. Her importance as a character lies in the ways that she changes Coates and makes him a better man and father.