Chapter 6: 1927 Summary and Analysis
Jude Greene: tenor in Mt. Zion’s Men Quartet; 20-year-old bridegroom of Nel Wright; waiter at Hotel Medallion; leaves with Sula
Helene Wright was tired but happy in preparing for her only daughter’s wedding. Not many people in Medallion had church weddings with receptions. Such weddings were expensive; couples married at the court house or “took up” with each other. The Wrights mailed no invitations; everyone just came. Those who could afford a gift brought it; those who could not afford a gift could come without one.
Jude Greene, the bridegroom, had wanted to work on the New Road. His job as waiter at the Hotel Medallion was not what he wanted to do with his life. His rage, his determination to take a man’s role, and his need of someone to care for him resulted in his asking Nel to marry him. He particularly liked Nel because she was not trying to get him to notice her. When he presented his problems, Nel cared. She accepted his proposal of marriage.
At the wedding, Morrison tells the reader, everyone realized that the deweys had been 48 inches tall for years and would always remain child-like in thought and action.
At the end of the reception the couple danced together and anticipated their first night as husband and wife. Nel sees Sula over Jude’s shoulder.
Morrison includes many stylistic devices in “1927.” An example of connotation is the following:
“Even Helene Wright had mellowed with the cane, waving away apologies for drinks spilled on her rug and paying no attention whatever to the chocolate cake lying on the arm of her red-velvet sofa.”
Alliteration (“…come crashing down on his foot, and when people asked him how come he limped, he could say…”) and a metaphor (“Whatever his fortune, whatever the cut of his garment, there would always be the hem…”) are some of the ways that Morrison helps to describe the setting, the feelings, and theme of love in “1927.”
In describing the wedding and the reception Morrison uses contrasts: old dancing with young; church women tapping their feet; boys dancing with their sisters. Her writing is effective and presents an imagery to make the chapter real to the reader.
The road-building job symbolizes many important things to Jude. It is a way to remain a part of the world even after death. It is a good-paying job and will allow Jude to use his body to advantage. It is a way to find camaraderie. Even an injury from the hard road could be a badge of pride. Symbolism is important to the chapter and to Sula.
Racism is an important theme in “1927.” Jude is unable to secure the job because of his color. Jude’s color symbolizes something objectionable to the employers. The dark color of other Bottom residents also prevents them from getting jobs from the white employers. Instead of the well-built, black men, the employers hire Greeks, Italians, and skinny, white boys to work on the New Road.
Another theme in the chapter is love. Jude does not marry for love. He marries to have someone to care for him. He marries because he cannot have the job he wants and yet he wants to behave as a man. In the previous chapter Eva equates love with responsibility; in this chapter, however, Jude does not marry with love or responsibility as a motive. He uses marriage to achieve an end: his own care. Racism against Jude, in effect, damages the...
(The entire section is 885 words.)