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 5, Chapter 11 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Eubie asks why there isn’t a fourth killing in Part Four, and Alex explains that at this point in the series he wanted to “expand the story” and “give it scope.” Eubie begins giving corrections, saying that most of what Alex wrote about Storm Posse is false. Alex implied that Funnyboy was in the crew when in fact Funnyboy was from the Eight Lanes. Alex claims he was basing his information from a source, and Eubie responds that he already knows that Alex’s source is Tristan Phillips. Eubie tells him that Tristan is a crack addict now, and asks why Alex waited so long to publish the story. Alex explains he waited until Josey Wales was in prison. Eubie is surprised that Alex thinks just because Josey is in prison, he’s safe.
Eubie is always one step ahead of the other characters, and this scene is no exception. In this sense, despite his sadistic cruelty, Eubie is an ideal editor. He has the kind of comprehensive insight that will help Alex’s story most closely resemble the truth. At the same time, this draws into question whether the point of the story was actually to convey the truth, or whether Alex was motivated by other desires, such as the desire to promote himself as a writer or to play into a stereotypical image of what Jamaica is like.
Themes
Politics, Power, and Corruption Theme Icon
Witness and Storytelling Theme Icon
Alex asks if Eubie is going to threaten him into abandoning the story, but Eubie says he wants to know how it turns out. Eubie says Alex can keep all the stuff about Jamaica and Josey Wales, but he should take out all the parts about New York. Eubie doesn’t want the DEA or the Feds coming after him. Alex protests that this leaves a “hole in the story,” but Eubie doesn’t care. Eubie then asks why Josey sent Tony Pavarotti to kill Alex. He adds that “Josey Wales not going touch anybody for a long time, least of all you.”
While Eubie is able to see through Alex’s egotism, Eubie himself suffers from similar issues. On some level, his concern about the DEA or Feds coming after him is purely pragmatic––yet as we have seen, Eubie is also interested in his reputation and that of the New York branch of Storm Posse more broadly. This section of the novel thus serves as a reminder that everyone is more or less enslaved to their own vanity. 
Themes
Violence vs. Peace Theme Icon
Jamaican Culture and Identity Theme Icon
Politics, Power, and Corruption Theme Icon
Witness and Storytelling Theme Icon
Eventually, Alex reveals that it was Josey who shot the Singer. Alex explains he figured it out because he interviewed Josey and the Singer separately, but they both knew the same detail that the Singer was shot in the heart. The only way Josey could have known was if he was the shooter. Eubie then asks if Alex knew that the Singer forgave one of the boys involved in the attack, and even brought that boy on tour with him. After that the boy disappeared, and nobody knows what happened to him except Eubie. Alex asks where he is, and Eubie replies that he just told him.
This passage contains one of the central unresolved mysteries of the book. The boy to whom Eubie is referring is Heckle, who––as Josey explained––asked for the Singer’s forgiveness after the shooting and was then brought into the Singer’s inner circle. Is Eubie Heckle? Josey mentioned admiring Heckle’s intelligence, which makes the link more plausible.
Themes
Violence vs. Peace Theme Icon
Politics, Power, and Corruption Theme Icon
Witness and Storytelling Theme Icon
Eubie shoots Alex in the foot and Alex starts screaming. Eubie says that Josey is “the most psychotic son of a bitch I ever come ‘cross in my life, and I just fucking kill him.” Eubie presses his finger into the bullet in Alex’s foot, and tells Alex never to give him a reason to come back. He tells Alex to call 911 when they leave, and when Alex asks how he is supposed to explain the bullet in his foot, Eubie replies: “Make something up.”
This passage raises the question of whether Eubie is even more “psychotic” than Josey, given that Eubie just had Josey killed. If so, does this mean that each don who replaces the last becomes successively more psychotic than the one before? Is there no limit to this terrifying cycle?
Themes
Violence vs. Peace Theme Icon
Politics, Power, and Corruption Theme Icon
Witness and Storytelling Theme Icon
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