Close Reading Anylsis

879 Words Dec 23rd, 2012 4 Pages
Jocelyn Dill
Professor Samuels
English 102-05
23 October 2012

Close Reading Analysis: The Gilded Six-Bits

In Zora Neale Hurston’s short story “The Gilded Six-Bits,” there are many aspects that can be analyzed. However, I found it interesting that the act of objectification is reoccurring in this story from beginning to end. Objectification means to make a person or thing into an object rather than a human being or what it is. The character, Otis D. Slemmons, plays a very pivotal part in this story. His perception of wealth also plays an important role since the whole turning point of the storyline happens because of it. Mister Slemmon’s wealth and possessions cause everyone to be drawn to him. He himself allows women
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“‘Missie May ain’t you gonna fix me no breakfus?’” (Hurston 288). Joe also uses the gold piece from Slemmon’s watch to punish Missie May. “There were no more Saturday romps, No ringing silver dollars to stack beside her plate. No pockets to rifle. In fact the yellow coin in his trousers was like a monster hiding in the cave of his pockets to destroy her” (Hurston 288). Not only is Missie May treated like a prostitute by Slemmons, but after months of taunting, and no affection, Joe begins to treat her that way as well. “But the next day as she joyfully made up their bed, beneath her pillow she found the piece of money with the bit of chain attached” (Hurston 288). “Then another thought came clawing at her. He had come to buy from her as if she were any woman in the long house. Fifty cents for her love. As if to say he could pay as well as Slemmons ” (Hurston 288). The gold coin is the main thing that this story is built around. However, it takes on different meanings throughout the story. In the beginning, it is a symbol of wealth for Slemmons. Joe is very envious of Slemmons because he has been given gifts and a lot of money by women, and never had to work for it. “‘He’s got a five-dollar gold piece for a stick-pin and he got a ten-dollar gold piece on his watch chain and his mouf is jes’ crammed full of gold teethes. Sho wisht it was mine’” (Hurston 286). Slemmons, on the other hand, uses his money and reputation to hide the
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