The silver bullet represents Jones's tenuous hold on power. Jones clings to his one silver bullet the same way he clings to his emperorship, and refuses to let either of them go. When he finally does shoot the crocodile god with his final silver bullet, it symbolizes Jones's final step in his return to being a man. Further, the fear involved in Jones's decision to use the silver bullet makes it abundantly clear that Jones has truly returned to being human, and that with the acceptance of fear, Jones also rejects his godliness.
The Silver Bullet Quotes in The Emperor Jones
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'!
What—what is I doin'? What is—dis place? Seems like—seems like I know dat tree—an' dem stones—an' de river. I remember—seems like I been heah befo'.
Well, they did for yer right enough, Jonsey, me lad! Dead as a 'erring! Where's yer 'igh an' mighty airs now, yer bloomin' Majesty? Silver bullets! Gawd blimey, but yer died in the 'eighth o' style, any'ow!