Per. E SFW. #1
Mixing the Literary with the Commercial
The use of Commercial and Literary fiction within Hurston’s “The Gilded Six-Bits” is mixed inside of the story, while Hurston drags you in with details and imagery, setting scenes and places, Hurston also uses the Literary side of fiction to speak events of life, to make the reader aware that these events and everyday occasions are a part of the real world and life itself.
Sometimes stories can be border lined commercial or literary and it does depend on time written, the reader, or its intentions itself. Hurston wrote this to bring life of African American in the South to people’s eyes as she studied the folkways there. And this story can be seen as a literary one, with the way Missie May and Joe talk with their slang and poor speaking, “Ah’m way behind time t’day! Joe gointer be heah ‘fore Ah git mah clothes on if Ah don’t make haste.” In Missie May’s first opening line you can tell from the way it’s written that this was how the African Americans would talk in the south back then with bad grammar and pronunciation, it gives insight into how much education African Americans had back in 1933. Another give away is the term given to them by the store clerk, “Wisht I could be like these darkies.” As the qoutation is read, it’s somewhat far more grammatically correct than Joe or Missie May and more importantly the way the clerk refers to Joe (and Missie May) as “Darkies.” This gives leeway into that the store clerk was white, so he not only spoke better, but also most likely had a better education and grew up in the south reaping more benefits than Joe or Missie May as African Americans. For which are the reasons this piece can be seen as literary fiction.
Along with the historical context comes the present tense of the story. As you read you learn adultery is taking place as the new owner of the ice cream parlor, Mr. Slemmons, was caught sleeping with Joe’s wife, Missie May. This is a real world problem in the current future, not just in the past. There is also the fact of greed and money playing a key role and how it affects people, “Oh Joe, honey, he said he wuz gointer give me dat gold money and jes’ kept on after me--,” as Missie May sobbed to her husband, but however, if she was the victim why did Missie May accept the offer of money for sleeping with him? Hurston did a good job of capturing what adultery, and in this case prostitution, was for people then. And now sometimes as the quick buck is better no matter what it risks.
Hurston does a great job of grabbing the reader’s attention. From the chase and scuffle with Joe, to the description of the scenery, Hurston made this piece, very arguably, commercial literature. With the descriptive imagery and plot, this grabs the reader’s attention as drama unfolds between a man and his wife, whom stealthily, behind her husband’s back, sleeps with the newest, and richest, member of their community for money. The chase in the beginning shows how this intricate and deep their love is for each other as they play harmless jokes and wrestle with each other, “ ‘Missie May, take yo’ hand out mah pocket!’ Joe shouted out between laughs.” As this unfolds so does the reader’s attention into the story as they suddenly want to more when Mr. Slemmons shows up and is caught in bed with Missie May, “The great belt on