The Characters

(Literary Essentials: African American Literature)

Eva Medina’s dilemma could be expressed by a remembered conversation from her childhood:

“Mama, where does the bee sting?”“Your heart,” Mama says.“Down in your draws,” says Miss Billie.Is your heart in your draws?

Her own ambivalence about her role as a person, sex object, and lover is made more difficult by the attitude of men toward her: “All they think about is where they going to get their next piece.” Although she thinks often that she must “keep her legs closed,” she remembers and quotes her mother, the voice of experience, who told her that “after you’ve done it the first time, you won’t be satisfied till you’ve done it again.”

It is through such fragmentary and often contradictory thoughts, dreams, and statements made in conversation that Jones reveals Eva Medina Canada. The character that appears as she tells her own story is a lonely, silent woman hardened by abuse and desperate for love, incapable of breaking out of the patterns of her past.

When Davis keeps her in the room and will not let her comb her hair, it is not surprising that she thinks of herself as “Medusa. . . . Men look at me and get hardons. I turn their dicks to stone.” Jones portrays her both as a defenseless victim of the animal desires of the men who stalk her and as an animalistic temptress herself: the Medusa image, her name (Eva/Eve), and her...

(The entire section is 638 words.)

The Characters

(Masterpieces of American Fiction)

In Eva’s Man, as in Corregidora (1975), Jones reveals character through voice. She also conveys characters through the prism of a central consciousness, albeit one that is demented. In actuality, there are only two major characters in Eva’s Man, Eva and Davis Carter, her man. Yet appearing in rapid succession are a number of other characters, each having made an imprint on Eva. Apart from her mother, three women are important in Eva’s life: Elvira Moody, Miss Billie, and the Queen Bee. Elvira Moody is Eva’s roommate; although she has murdered three men, she is not considered as violent as Eva. A foil, she assists Eva in telling her story by prodding her with critical questions, forcing Eva to look at her own repressed sexuality. Miss Billie also functions more as a representative figure than as a fully rounded character. Her role is that of mentor; Eva, however, cannot accept her guidance. Neither Eva nor Miss Billie’s own daughter, Charlotte, can accept the traditional definitions of womanhood that Miss Billie embodies. Given an “ancestors bracelet” as a child, a bracelet supposedly linking the wearer to the “two people you had to be true to—those people who come before you and those people who come after you,” Eva promptly loses hers. The Queen Bee is the community’s name for a woman who harbors the gift of a fatal love; the men who love her die. When she falls in love, she, too, dies.

Most of the male characters with whom Eva comes into...

(The entire section is 616 words.)

Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Eva Medina Canada

Eva Medina Canada, a deeply disturbed forty-three-year-old black woman who is incarcerated in an insane asylum after having murdered and sexually mutilated her lover, Davis Carter. The novel traces her response to the repeated requests of the asylum psychiatrists and her roommate, Elvira Moody, to explain why she committed this grisly act. Eva herself is not so much sincerely trying to understand this murder as she is browsing through memories that come back to her, some repeatedly and some with distortions, but most of which focus on her sexual history. As a girl, she learns to keep quiet after some very early encounters with sexuality, and the silence she maintains on these occasions recurs throughout her life when she is faced with problems. For example, when the police question her, as a teenager, about stabbing Moses Tripp, she lets Moses talk but says nothing herself. After being judged insane for the murder of Davis Carter, she is locked up with Elvira Moody, also a murderer. The novel ends with Eva acquiescing, after much resistance, to Elvira’s desire to make love to her but with little reason to believe that Eva’s memories will ever coalesce into understanding of her actions on her part.

Davis Carter

Davis Carter, Eva’s lover, the man she murders. He has been married, has been a gambler, and tells her that he presently works with horses. The tall, dark-skinned, and good-looking Davis reminds Eva a bit of what her husband might have been like as a younger man. He does not physically abuse Eva, but—as had her husband,...

(The entire section is 658 words.)