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 7 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Josey is pacing inside his cell, and Doctor Love wonders if he’s about to pull out a shank. Josey notes that he’s been terrorizing the guards assigned to him in prison, including by killing their families. He asserts: “Everybody fucking owe me. I give the country to that fucking government.” Doctor Love reminds him that that government is no longer in power, and nobody owes Josey anything. Doctor Love scolds him for killing a pregnant woman, saying he read about it in The New Yorker. Josey tells him that he checks if his food is poisoned by feeding pieces of it to the rats every day and waiting to see if they drop dead. He does this even though he’s already bought the loyalty of everyone in the prison kitchen.
This passage reveals the dramatic extent to which Josey has covered all bases in order to preserve his power. Even though he is in prison, he still wields as much as power as possible in order to keep himself safe and in control of his fate. At the same time, his power has reached such heights that he is arguably now somewhat doomed to fail. In ascending to a position of such absolute dominance, Josey has made too many enemies to survive for much longer.
Themes
Violence vs. Peace Theme Icon
Jamaican Culture and Identity Theme Icon
Politics, Power, and Corruption Theme Icon
Witness and Storytelling Theme Icon
Doctor Love looks around the prison cell and observes that it’s falling apart. Josey tells him that Peter Nasser tried to threaten him, worried that Josey is about to snitch on him. Doctor Love calls Josey a “psychopath” and Josey starts hysterically laughing. Josey then warns him that even though it’s been years, he remembers everything, including exact dates and names. Doctor Love predicts that he’ll sign a deal with the DEA that will get him out of prison. Josey boasts that he owns “every single” person in Kingston and New York. Doctor Love tells him that before Griselda Blanco was killed by the Medellín cartel, a man helped her regain control over Miami, which was being taken over by the Ranking Dons. The man did it in exchange for Griselda organizing the murder of Weeper. The man was Eubie.
After years of punishing people for so much as accidentally witnessing things he didn’t want them to see, Josey now plans to give up information on everyone he has known and worked with in order to save himself and get out of prison quicker. Note that there has been a palpable shift in Josey’s personality now that he is in prison. Whereas before he was always cautious and somewhat understated in his speech, now he is making grand, over-the-top declarations such as claiming that he owns everyone in Kingston and New York. The scope of Eubie’s duplicity and ambition are also fully revealed here.
Themes
Violence vs. Peace Theme Icon
Politics, Power, and Corruption Theme Icon
Witness and Storytelling Theme Icon