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 4, Chapter 17 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Josey is at JFK airport. At customs, he watches two Jamaicans get taken off to be searched. As Josey walks through to baggage claim, he sees the officers throw one of them, a woman, down onto the ground. Outside, Eubie is waiting, wearing a blue silk suit and holding a sign that says “Josey Wales.” Eubie explains that it’s a joke and Josey replies: “I not laughing.” Josey is irritated by the Americanisms in Eubie’s speech. Eubie suggests they get something to eat, but Josey is impatient to get to Bushwick. Eubie mentions “the old days,” but Josey does not remember knowing Eubie back then.
Josey is clearly unnerved by Eubie, and although he claims this is because Eubie is making unfunny jokes and has adopted too many Americanisms, there seems to be something else afoot. Eubie’s Americanisms don’t just represent a shift away from Jamaican identity—they also show that Eubie is adaptable and familiar with a culture in which Josey is a stranger, yet in which he is trying to establish power. In this country, Eubie already has the upper hand.
Themes
Masculinity, Sexuality, and Homophobia Theme Icon
Politics, Power, and Corruption Theme Icon
Driving through Queens, they go over a pothole, which makes Josey jump. Everyone in the car laughs, and Josey is silently furious. They drive up to Boston Jerk Chicken, even though Josey said earlier that he didn’t come to New York to eat Jamaican food. Eubie warns Josey that Weeper has been “fucking around in more ways than one.” Josey is annoyed to hear that Eubie has a runner spying on Weeper, but Eubie says he’s sure Josey does the same to him. Eubie goes on to say that Weeper has started using crack. Josey tells him they need to go to Bushwick immediately, even though their food has not yet arrived.
Eubie’s insistence on taking Josey out to eat may appear like hospitality. In reality, it is part of Eubie’s subtle yet powerful effort at manipulation. By taking Josey out to eat even though Josey said he didn’t want to, Eubie is reminding Josey that he is in control. Furthermore, he is putting on a false display of innocence over the fact that Weeper’s operation in Bushwick is a disaster, pretending it is not a matter of urgency.
Themes
Jamaican Culture and Identity Theme Icon
Politics, Power, and Corruption Theme Icon
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