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The Gilded Six-Bits” by Zora Neal Hurston

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    It was greatly influenced by Hurston’s life as an African American in the Harlem Renaissance. The Harlem Renaissance was a period in which black artists explored their culture and showed pride in their race, through literature, music and other art.

    “The Gilded Six-Bits” was a story magazine that was published in 1933 by Bertram Lippincott. The three main characters in the story are Joe Banks, Missie May Banks and Otis Slemmons. Joe and Missie May Banks are a newlywed couple that live in the small town of Eatonville, Florida.Joe works the night shift at G;G Fertilizer and Missie May is a stay at home wife waiting to have children.

    The couple is very much in love until Otis Slemmons comes in to the picture. Slemmons is what seemed to be a rich man, that is until you got a closer look at him. He’s the kind of guy that goes from town to town ruining people’s relationships. This didn’t work in this story, Joe ends up forgiving Missie May for her infidelity.

    It takes a while for Joe to finally forgive Missie May but he finally did after the birth of their first child.This is showed by Joe going back to the Market in Orlando and returning home with chocolate kisses for his wife and newborn son. In “The Gilded Six-Bits”, Huston uses the theme of appearance versus reality to suggest that things aren’t as simple as they appear to be. The theme of appearance and reality is first seen in “The Gilded Six-Bits” upon our first meeting Joe Banks and Missie May.

    Even at our first glimpse into their lives, we don’t know that they are married. It seems that they are only dating, by the little games that they play. But reality strikes and we find out the are actually newlyweds.The theme of appearance versus reality is also shown with Otis Slemmons.

    He appears to be wealthy person, by the way he portrays himself. But come to find out, he actually is just putting on a show for everyone in town. Otis always carried a gold piece and had a watch charm that look to be gold, but would never let anyone touch it. The reason he never let anyone touch them, is because he didn’t want anyone to see the kind of person he actually was: a poor person just like everyone else in town.

    Reality later strikes when we find out that the gold piece was actually a gilded half-dollar and the watch charm was a gilded four-bit piece.This is another image of how money, even it’s real money, is linked to ideas of paradise. This is also significant because it reveals the true character of Slemmons and the reason why he drifts from town to town. Like his gold he is nothing more than and appearance.

    In conclusion, when you first look at someone don’t be so eager to judge them right away. Your never know what kind of a person he/she may be until you get to know them. Always take into consideration, they may be trying to appear wealthy like Slemmons, but in reality they actually don’t have any money at all. It could all just be an appearance.

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    The Gilded Six-Bits” by Zora Neal Hurston. (2018, Feb 18). Retrieved from

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