Six Gilded Bits analysis

6 June 2016

Eatonville, Florida, early 1930s during the great depression “It was a Negro yard around a Negro house in a Negro settlement that looked to the payroll of the G. and G. fertilizer works for it support. But there was something happy about the place.” (86) “The fences and house whitewashed the porch and steps scrubbed white.” (86) Pleasant, happy joyful mood; “blooming cheerily” & “open to the sunshine”(86) Symbolism

Money = Power = Women “And whut make it so cool, he got money ‘cumulated. And women’s give it all to ‘im.”(90) Food = Comfort and therapeutic “Meat and lard, meal and flour, soap and starch. Cans of cans and tomatoes. All the staples. He fooled around town for awhile and bought bananas and apples.” (97) “Candy kisses”(87) vs. “molasses kisses” (97) – maintaining vs. repairing “He considered a surprise attack upon the big clown that stood there laughing like a chessy cat.” (93)- mischievous, sly; appearance vs. reality/ hypocritical Irony Fun happy enjoyable stark contrast, tricksters

Six Gilded Bits analysis Essay Example

“Cape jasmine bush”(87) symbolizes luxury and goodness. Imagery and Personification “Yo’ water is on de fire…” (88) Contrast between two elements representing Missie May vs. Joe. War imagery “ … dying dawn saw him hustling home around the lake where the challenging sun flung a flaming sword from east to west across the trembling water,” (92)-foreshadowing, Hurston preparing us for what is about to come. Juxtaposing between initial setting and uneasy setting. “From beyond the no-man’s land between them came a voice.

A strange voice that yesterday had been Joe’s.” – war imagery Light motif- “a lean moon rode the lake in a silver boat” (92) – lean moon suggesting a subdued reality and the silver boat representing Slemmons – foreshadowing the affair. Light motif -“The sun, the hero of the day, the impersonal old man that beams as brightly on death as on birth, came up every morning and raced across the blue dome and dipped into the sea of fire every evening. Water ran down hill and birds nested.” (95)- juxtaposition between life and death, the circle of life, nature of life, new beginnings, fresh starts. “The great belt on the wheel of Time slipped and eternity stood still”(93) his inability to move on from what he saw as he talks about wanting a child. “…rusty ankles.“(94) The shock of the incident froze them and caused the temporary corrosion of their relationship. The tears had caused their unconditional love to rust.

“Finally the suns tide crept upon the shore of night and drowned all its hours.”(94)- chaos no time when a crisis occurs, at night which shows the misery of Missie May has led to Joe becoming a living corpse as his love and life with May have become distant from him. “Red light turned to yellow, then white.”(94) White represents permission from Joe, red meaning anger and yellow the fading of the anger ‘its shadow was in the house whether or no.’ (95)- the gold bits haunt her and ironically brings misery to her home and her marriage instead of happiness and wealth. Alliteration

Wails of weeping without words. (93) – Emphasizes her grand scale of the sorrow, regret and guilt Missie May feels. Diction: wails- giant animals, great grief Furious mass of male and female energy (87) the immense depth to their love and affection. Shouting, laughing, twisting, turning, tussling, tickling… (87) Characterizes their fast paced and fun, teasing relationship “Big pitcher of buttermilk beaded with pale drops of butter from the churn.” (88)- contrasting their relationship now and after. Repetition

Four- bit piece repeated thrice throughout the story signifying the importance of deceit and the misleading interpretation of money being more valuable than love and marital relationships. Numbers and Titular Significance

Missie May had a baby a full year after the incident with Slemmons, proving to be Joe’s baby. “ Who else could it look lak?” (96) Throws 9 bits in the beginning and 15 at the end 15-9= 6 – Gilded six-bits. The renewal of their relationship was established six months after the incident with Slemmons when Missie May learns about her pregnancy.

Diction “Dats de first time ah ever seed gold money.” (91) – The seed (idea) of acquiring money from Slemmons is planted in his head “White washed,” discloses their economical situation of their home. They still want a clean and nice look to their home, but they cannot afford actual paint. Also emphasizes the typical economical situation of the typical black family. “Rich black man” during depression would be contradictory Oxymoron “Mock alarm”(87), “mock anger”(87), “joyful mischief”(87), “friendly battle”(88), “play fight”(88) emphasizes their relationship being joyful and flirtatious; play fights adds towards their youthfulness, and strengthens their marriage by making it fun. Themes

Marriage and Love Constant expression of love – candy, gold, mock battles and games. “Gointer buy my wife some good ole lasses kisses wid it” (98)- repairing the relationship by buying her off. Parable being that marriage and love is stronger than anything and is more valuable than gold “Don’t you mess wid mah business, man. You git in yo’ clothes. Ah’m a real wife, not no dress and breath. Ah might not look lak one, but if you burn me, you won’t git a thing but wife ashes.” ( 88) – female dominance in their relationship “They were man and wife again.” (96) – renewal of marriage and vows. Revenge

Subtle revenge: ‘In fact the yellow coin in his trousers was like a monster hiding in the cave of his pockets to destroy her.’ (95) – Although Joe doesn’t directly make her feel guilty, his passiveness acts as constant reminder of her offence.

Appearance versus reality “All that glitter is not gold” Two faced coins just gilded half dollars covered in gold Slemmons, appears to be the “rich white man” (89)  The story starts off with “It was a Negro yard around a Negro house in a Negro settlement that looked to the payroll of the G and G. Fertilizer works for its support.” This automatically sets an image of the house as nothing but that and restricts and limits the success and happiness of the family in the house by emphasizing this divide. However, Hurston then welcomes us inside the house and what appears to be a place with limited happiness, in reality is actually rich with joy and love. Societal and Racial Segregation

“But there was something happy about the place.”(87) It is described as something unusual and against the norm of the typical black family in a black community. “ Joe looked down at his own abdomen and said wistfully, Wisht Ah had a build on me lak he got. He ain’t puzzle-gutted, honey. He jes’ got a corperation. Dat make ‘m look lak a rich white man. All rich mens is got some belly on’em.” (89) – Food and money makes a white man wealthy, which Joe aspires to be. “Wisht I could be like these darkies. Laughin’ all the time. Nothin’ worries ‘em.” (98) – Irony because at the beginning, Joe being a back man aspired to be like Slemmons “rich white man” whereas the clerk here wishes to be like Joe who is pleased with his life at this point. Gender roles

“Ah’m de one ehut’s hungry.[…] Have it on de table when Ah git out de tub.” (88) “ you ain’t hungry, sugar,” (88) “Nope, sweetinin’ is for us men-folks. Y’all pretty little frail eels don’t need nothin’ lak dis. You too sweet already.” (89) , “Women ain’t got no business in a man’s clothes nohow.” (88) – Norms of the roles in the household. Men’s work is more valued, and acknowledged than women’s housework. Joe tries to sugar coat his comments reflecting women’s roles at that time. “ Don’t you mess wid mah business, man. You git in yo’ clothes. Ah’m a real wife, not no dress and breath.” (88) “You de one dat pushes de needles around heah.” (87) -Missie May challenges these roles and often dominates in the relationship as shown by their friendly battles and her getting what she desires and is not abused, or oppressed. She demands to be valued as an individual woman and not a part of the man. In the Banks household, the genders compliment each other instead of contradicting one another. Characterization

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