78 pages 2 hours read

Steve Pemberton

A Chance in the World

Nonfiction | Autobiography / Memoir | Adult | Published in 2012

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Key Figures

Steve Pemberton

Steve Pemberton is the author and first-person narrator of the story. Over the course of the book, his concept of his identity evolves. As a child, he knows only that his foster parents do not want him. He is optimistic and curious, always hopeful that his real parents will come save him, and reading and learning whenever he can. Without knowing his parents, he cannot see himself as a son. Because he doesn’t know he has siblings, he cannot identify as anyone’s brother.

After he escapes from the Robinsons, Steve indulges his curiosity and work ethic on behalf of learning about his parents and finding his siblings. Steve is optimistic, hardworking, and resilient. He is a person of faith who eventually learns to feel a sense of community with fellow African Americans.

Steve’s tenacious search does not give him the comfort he hoped for. Instead, he becomes an example of the importance of living a satisfying life that is enriched by other people but not dependent on them or their acceptance. 

Betty and Willie Robinson

Betty and Willie are Steve’s abusive foster parents for the majority of Part 1. They take every chance to abuse him and the other children under their care. They are ignorant, cruel, insecure, and Willie is illiterate.

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