When the reader or audience first meets Jones, his uniform is ostentatious and dripping with decoration—it's the true mark of an emperor. As Jones encounters the apparitions in the woods, however, his uniform gradually tears, and he takes it off to escape the heat. In this way, while the uniform itself represents Jones's emperorship, its gradual disintegration symbolizes Jones's return to being truly human. This offers the reader or viewer a way to track Jones's progress from godlike figure to man.
Jones's Uniform Quotes in The Emperor Jones
Talk polite, white man! Talk polite, you heah me! I'm boss heah now, is you fergettin'?
No use'n you rakin' up ole times. What I was den is one thing. What I is now 's another.
Does you think I'd slink out de back door like a common nigger? I'se Emperor yit, ain't I? And de Emperor Jones leaves de way he comes, and dat black trash don't dare stop him—not yit, leastways.
Dis am a long night fo' yo', yo' Majesty! Majesty! Der ain't much majesty 'bout dis baby now. Never min'. It's all part o' de game. Dis night come to an end like everything else.
Damn dis heah coat! Like a straight-jacket!...And to hell wid dese high-fangled spurs. Dey're what's been a-trippin' me up an' breakin' my neck. Dere! I gits rid o' dem frippety Emperor trappin's an' I travels lighter.
Oh, Lawd, what I gwine do now? Ain't got no bullet left on'y de silver one. If mo' o' dem ha'nts come after me, how I gwine skeer dem away? Oh, Lawd, on'y de silver one left—an' I gotta save dat fo' luck. If I shoots dat one I'm a goner sho'!