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 2, Chapter 17 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Demus has spent the night in a shack with Weeper, Funky Chicken, Heckle, and Bam-Bam. In the morning, everyone in the shack is “going mad and ting.” Bam-Bam is screaming, Heckle is searching for cocaine, and Funky Chicken is shaking and scratching himself from heroin withdrawal. Demus guesses it is about noon. The room smells bad, and Demus thinks he can smell all the men’s fear. The sun goes down, and Demus is so desperate to get out of the shack that he is prepared to kill whoever opens the door. Josey arrives and slaps Bam-Bam to stop him screaming.
The scene inside the shack is hellish, and clearly designed (and, as Demus’ thoughts show, successfully so) to push the men into becoming so desperate and disorientated that they will do anything Josey tells them. Crucially, at this stage the men are so dependent on Josey that his imprisoning them in the shack does not turn them against him, but in fact increases his control over them.
Themes
Violence vs. Peace Theme Icon
Josey then opens one box filled with guns and another box filled with cocaine, and the men rush to do lines. Demus starts to feel invincible, like he could “kill God and fuck the devil.” The men get into two white Datsuns and drive uptown to the Singer’s house. On the drive, a blue car joins them, going in the same direction.
By alternately giving and withholding cocaine, Josey not only increases the men’s dependency on him but controls their emotions, enabling him to push them past their normal range of feeling and preparing them to commit extreme acts of violence that they might otherwise balk at.
Themes
Violence vs. Peace Theme Icon
Masculinity, Sexuality, and Homophobia Theme Icon
Politics, Power, and Corruption Theme Icon