The Devil Swim's Across The Anacostia River

Submitted By nburton3
Words: 1507
Pages: 7

The truth shall set you free Many people tend to take on roles in which they are not ready to live up to as a cover-up for their own insecurities. In “The Devil Swim’s Across the Anacostia River” the protagonist, Laverne, encounters the Devil in the grocery store. Edward P. Jones attempts to challenge one’s ability to stand by their personal truth even when being tested as well as an individual’s capability to remember their past as it precisely happened.
Through the portrayal of Laverne, Jones enlightens readers on an individual’s attempt to recall the past and the struggle to declare themselves innocent. The first illustration of Laverne characterizes her as a woman who is not living up to her expectations as a wife, who needs reassurance that she is in fact, a good wife. As the Devil approached Laverne she notices his well put together outfit. “Dressed in a splendid gray gabardine suit, and down through the metal rods of the empty cart Laverne could see that on feet small enough to belong to a little girl, he wore two-tone, black-and-white shoes”(Jones 271). Throughout the story the Devil appears in different forms. First, to Laverne’s grandmother who walked on water as a voice from the skies in which she was longing for to relieve her from her depression. Secondly, to Laverne’s second grandmother as a woman who persuaded her with food I which she needed for survival and lastly to Laverne as a well-dressed man with nice teeth and a splendid fragrance. All of these scenarios signify that the Devil comes into the form in which he knows the person he is encountering is vulnerable to. Since the Devil comes to Laverne as a man whose attire screams money, symbolizes that Laverne’s weakness is men. Her weakness proves her inability to be a wife, which shows when she daydreams about her neighbor for a brief moment in the store. “She had not gotten close to the man downstairs and so could only imagine how he smelled as he stepped out of his apartment dressed to kill and went to his car with yet another woman on his arm and opened his car door for the woman and watched her take her sophisticated time settling down on his bucket seat” (273). Laverne’s thinking of her neighbor shows not only her jealousy toward the woman he was with but also her infidelity to her husband as she plans to get to know her neighbor eventually. Jones’s descriptions shows Laverne’s inability to take on the role of a married woman, which proves her role as a wife is just a cover-up, nothing wanted.
Laverne is twenty-five years old with one child, childbearing, with a husband. Being that Laverne is still in the springtime of life, her mentality is young minded. Laverne wants to enjoy her life while she can, and she plans to do so as she is invited to a party across the Anacostia River that Saturday. “She lived to dance, lived to party, even though her mother liked to remind her that she was now married with a child and another waiting in the wings. A friend across the Anacostia River in Northwest was giving a party that Saturday night and it was all Laverne had been able to think about for days” (275). Laverne’s enthusiasm illustrates that she is still drawn into the fast life. Her partying and attention-seeking exemplifies her unprepared attitude toward being a mother and a wife. Her mother has to remind her and she also has to reassure herself constantly that she is both a mother and wife, which shows she doesn’t have the stability that she should have I those two areas. As the Devil approaches Laverne she looks down at her wedding ring for reassurance. “Laverne looked down at her wedding ring on her hand resting on the cart’s handle, and when she raised her eyes, the devil was taking off his hat, in that dramatic way men did in old movies to impress women that needed very little impressing” (271). Laverne does not think highly of herself when it comes to herself as a woman. She lacks self-confidence and