Joe Turner’s Come and Gone

by

August Wilson

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Jeremy Furlow Character Analysis

A cheerful young man who lives in Seth and Bertha’s boarding house. Jeremy works for white employers as one of many people installing a new bridge. In the play’s opening scene, he comes home from having spent the night in jail because, he explains, two police officers incarcerated him in order to confiscate the two dollars he and his friend had just been paid. Jeremy is a proficient guitar player who carries himself with confidence, giving “the impression that he has the world in his hand, that he can meet life’s challenges head on.” He retains this optimism even when he’s fired from working on the bridge. As he explains it to Seth, his white employers went around to all the black workers and demanded that they pay fifty cents in order to retain their jobs. Jeremy thought this was a ridiculous request, so he refused and, thus, was fired. When Seth tells him he’s crazy for giving up a good job, he says, “Don’t make me no difference. There’s a big road out there.” In keeping with this outlook, he shortly thereafter runs off with Molly Cunningham, even though he has just started living with Mattie Campbell.

Jeremy Furlow Quotes in Joe Turner’s Come and Gone

The Joe Turner’s Come and Gone quotes below are all either spoken by Jeremy Furlow or refer to Jeremy Furlow. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Migration and Transience Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin edition of Joe Turner’s Come and Gone published in 1988.
The Play Quotes

Jeremy just young. He don’t know what he getting into. That gal don’t mean him no good. She’s just using him to keep from being by herself. That’s the worst use of a man you can have. You ought to be glad to wash him out of your hair. I done seen all kind of men. I done seen them come and go through here. Jeremy ain’t had enough to him for you. You need a man who’s got some understanding and who willing to work with that understanding to come to the best he can. You got your time coming. You just tries too hard and can’t understand why it don’t work for you. Trying to figure it out don’t do nothing but give you a troubled mind. Don’t no man want a woman with a troubled mind.

You get all that trouble off your mind and just when it look like you ain’t never gonna find what you want […] you look up and it’s standing right there. That’s how I met my Seth. You gonna look up one day and find everything you want standing right in front of you.

Related Characters: Bertha Holly (speaker), Jeremy Furlow, Mattie Campbell, Molly Cunningham
Page Number: 74
Explanation and Analysis:
Act One: Scene One Quotes

These niggers coming up here with that old backward country style of living. It’s hard enough now without all that ignorant kind of acting. Ever since slavery got over with there ain’t been nothing but foolish-acting niggers. Word get out they need men to work in the mill and put in these roads…and niggers drop everything and head North looking for freedom. They don’t know the white fellows looking too. White fellows coming from all over the world. White fellow come over and in six months got more than what I got. But these niggers keep on coming. Walking…riding…carrying their Bibles. That boy done carried a guitar all the way from North Carolina. What he gonna find out? What he gonna do with that guitar? This the city.

Related Characters: Seth Holly (speaker), Bynum Walker, Jeremy Furlow
Related Symbols: The Guitar
Page Number: 5
Explanation and Analysis:

JEREMY: It didn’t make no sense to me. I don’t make but eight dollars. Why I got to give him fifty cents of it? He go around to all the colored and he got ten dollars extra. That’s more than I make for a whole week.

SETH: I see you gonna learn the hard way. You just looking at the facts of it. See, right now, without the job, you ain’t got nothing. What you gonna do when you can’t keep a roof over your head? Right now, come Saturday, unless you come up with another two dollars, you gonna be out there in the streets. Down up under one of them bridges trying to put some food in your belly and wishing you had given that fellow that fifty cents.

JEREMY: Don’t make me no difference. There’s a big road out there. I can get my guitar and always find me another place to stay. I ain’t planning on staying in one place for too long noway.

Related Characters: Seth Holly (speaker), Jeremy Furlow (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Guitar
Page Number: 64
Explanation and Analysis:
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Joe Turner’s Come and Gone PDF

Jeremy Furlow Character Timeline in Joe Turner’s Come and Gone

The timeline below shows where the character Jeremy Furlow appears in Joe Turner’s Come and Gone. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act One: Scene One
Identity Theme Icon
Spirituality Theme Icon
...men to give him a loan to do this. Seth and Bertha then talk about Jeremy, a young tenant who apparently was jailed for being drunk the previous night. “You know... (full context)
Migration and Transience Theme Icon
Racism in Post-Slavery America Theme Icon
...even if he were sick, he wouldn’t let Bynum heal him. When Bynum asks after Jeremy, Seth rants about how he won’t put up with irresponsible behavior in his house. Bynum... (full context)
Spirituality Theme Icon
...for Selig to return the following week to retrieve the dustpans. Shortly after Selig leaves, Jeremy comes into the kitchen, sitting down to eat a large breakfast after a long night... (full context)
Racism in Post-Slavery America Theme Icon
Seth chastises Jeremy for getting arrested, telling him he won’t stand for this kind of behavior under his... (full context)
Migration and Transience Theme Icon
Racism in Post-Slavery America Theme Icon
...When Seth goes upstairs with Herald and Zonia to get them settled in, Bynum asks Jeremy what he’s going to do that night, but Jeremy says he’s too nervous to go... (full context)
Migration and Transience Theme Icon
Before Mattie leaves, Jeremy catches her by the door and says he overheard her story. “Had me an old... (full context)
Act One: Scene Three
Migration and Transience Theme Icon
On Sunday morning, Jeremy comes into the kitchen and announces that he won a dollar in the guitar contest.... (full context)
Migration and Transience Theme Icon
Bynum tries to teach Jeremy to not treat women as purely physical beings, but Jeremy has trouble absorbing the lesson,... (full context)
Migration and Transience Theme Icon
...as a prostitute. Having made this agreement, Molly goes outside to visit the outhouse, and Jeremy darts to the window. “Mr. Bynum, you know what?” he says while watching Molly traverse... (full context)
Act Two: Scene One
Spirituality Theme Icon
...“He just got a little excited.” When Mattie comes down for breakfast, she asks if Jeremy has already left for the day, and Bynum assures her that he has, since he... (full context)
Migration and Transience Theme Icon
Molly and Mattie talk about men, and Mattie explains that she and Jeremy are “keeping company till maybe Jack come back.” Molly, for her part, asserts that she... (full context)
Racism in Post-Slavery America Theme Icon
Mattie leaves for work, and Seth comes inside just before Jeremy also reappears. Seth asks why Jeremy isn’t at work, and Jeremy admits he was fired.... (full context)
Migration and Transience Theme Icon
Racism in Post-Slavery America Theme Icon
Seth remarks that Jeremy is going to “learn the hard way,” pointing out that without his job he has... (full context)
Migration and Transience Theme Icon
Racism in Post-Slavery America Theme Icon
Responding to Jeremy’s suggestion that they elope, Molly reminds him that he’s “tied up with that Mattie Campbell,”... (full context)
Act Two: Scene Three
Migration and Transience Theme Icon
Spirituality Theme Icon
...work for a while, it don’t last.” She also suggests that Mattie not worry about Jeremy, who ran off with Molly. “I seen it coming,” Bertha says. She assures Mattie that... (full context)