A Brief History of Seven Killings

A Brief History of Seven Killings

by

Marlon James

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on A Brief History of Seven Killings can help.

A Brief History of Seven Killings: Part 4, Chapter 21 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Josey feels that Bushwick is just another ghetto no better than the ghetto in Kingston. Eubie points out that it was smart of Weeper to set up shop there, because nobody wants to step foot in it. Josey is shocked by how desolate it is, especially compared to the vision of America conveyed on TV. Josey spies a young runner and tells Eubie to call him over. He asks the runner, Romeo, how business is going, and then asks about Weeper. Josey is shocked by the casual manner with which the boy speaks about Weeper.
Unlike many of the other Jamaican characters in the novel, Josey does not romanticize the United States. In particular, he is able to see that the parts of the U.S. afflicted with extreme poverty are really no different from Kingston. Josey also has a loyalty to Jamaica that few characters share, as evidenced by his chastising of Eubie for using Americanisms. 
Themes
Jamaican Culture and Identity Theme Icon
Witness and Storytelling Theme Icon
Romeo suggests that Weeper has probably gone home because it has been a busy day. Josey asks him how long he’s been working as a runner, and Romeo replies: “About five hours.” Eubie chimes in to say he would never trust a new recruit to be a runner, and Romeo clarifies that he was previously working as a spotter for two weeks. The runner calls Eubie a pimp because of how he’s dressed, and Josey instantly takes a liking to him because of how much it annoys Eubie. Meanwhile, the runner admits that if things had carried on as they were for even one more day, the corner would have been taken over by the Ranking Dons. Romeo concludes by saying that everyone around them has been hired that same day.
Things are looking almost comically bad for Weeper, and this is increased by Romeo’s cheeky manner. Indeed, the way Romeo behaves toward Josey and Eubie serves as a reminder that power is always socially constructed. Although as dons Josey and Eubie exercise an enormous amount of power, this is only because the people around them fear them. If everyone refused to do this, as Romeo does, their power would instantly disappear.
Themes
Politics, Power, and Corruption Theme Icon
Witness and Storytelling Theme Icon
Eubie and Josey walk over to the crack house, and Eubie excuses himself to pee. While he is gone, a crackhead comes up to Josey and demands money at gunpoint. Josey hands him a few bills, and the man pulls the trigger. It is a water gun filled with urine. The man runs off laughing. Weeper arrives and asks what Josey is doing alone, and why he is covered in piss. Eubie returns. Josey takes both of the men’s guns and walks into the crack house.
By this point, we know enough about Josey’s personality to realize that this moment will have serious consequences. Josey has gone to extreme lengths to suppress the information that he shot the Singer in order to avoid humiliation. How is he going to react to being sprayed with piss by a crackhead?
Themes
Violence vs. Peace Theme Icon
Politics, Power, and Corruption Theme Icon