A Brief History of Seven Killings

A Brief History of Seven Killings

by

Marlon James

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A Brief History of Seven Killings: Part 1, Chapter 6 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Waiting for Weeper, Josey muses on his disdain for Rastafarians. Weeper sleeps with all kinds of women, but Josey’s personal rule is that he will only have sex with a woman who is prettier than his girlfriend, Winifred, and as a result he has remained monogamous for ten years. Unlike many people in the ghetto, Josey went to high school. When Weeper was in prison, he read Bertrand Russell and this made him an atheist, which Josey doesn’t like. Weeper says that Papa-Lo is getting soft, but Josey thinks he’s just getting old. Although Papa-Lo is only 39, this is considered old in the ghetto. Josey thinks Papa-Lo is foolish because he is optimistic that “better will come.”
In many ways Josey is an unusual character, especially for a gangster. Whereas most gang members have little education and enjoy having sex with many women, Josey is well-educated, intelligent, and monogamous. On the other hand, both Papa-Lo and Weeper also defy the stereotype of gangsters in different ways too; Weeper because he enjoys reading philosophy, and Papa-Lo because he hopes for a more peaceful existence to come.
Themes
Masculinity, Sexuality, and Homophobia Theme Icon
Politics, Power, and Corruption Theme Icon
Weeper says that doing cocaine was the only way he could bring himself to have sex in prison, but Josey knows that Weeper still gets letters from the man he used to sleep with there. When Josey speaks to politicians and Americans like Louis Johnson, he pretends to be as stupid as they think he is, and conceals the fact that he can speak Spanish. He pretends to believe Louis when he says that the American government opposes intervening in the politics of sovereign nations. Josey also pretends he doesn’t know that the Americans are preparing to take him out, and meanwhile focuses on making schemes of his own.
Secrecy and duplicity are everywhere in the novel. Weeper pretends that he was reluctant to have sex with men while incarcerated, when in reality he seems to have fallen in love with his male lover in prison. Josey pretends to be stupid in front of the Americans, and the Americans pretend that they do not intervene in the politics of other countries. All these secrets are, in their own way, a means of preserving power and the status quo. 
Themes
Violence vs. Peace Theme Icon
Masculinity, Sexuality, and Homophobia Theme Icon
Jamaican Culture and Identity Theme Icon
Politics, Power, and Corruption Theme Icon