Ishmael Reed, through parody, allusion, and satire, manages to convey the meaning of Jes Grew without once explicitly defining it. There is a good reason why he never defines it; Jes Grew has no true definition. Even those infected by this? anti-plague? that evokes the jump, jive, and wail, do what you feel like spirit inside of them, can? t put their finger on exactly what is? this Jes Grew thing? (33).
One cannot explain Jes Grew without destroying its carefree feeling. Yet without? finding its text, ? Jes Grew? will peter out as in the 1890? s, when it wasn? t ready and had nowhere to search? (34).
Ironically, this set both pro and anti-Jes Grew advocates on an identical path: to seek out its text.
Apparently an inevitable outcome, this essay too will seek out the implications of the sought after text and the exact meaning of that infectious fiction which Reed so delicately tip-toed around. Jes Grew at first glance reads as? just grew. ? Reed chose these words to give the phenomenon a sense of emergence. What was not there yesterday has because it just recently grew. What used to be the mundane, every day life of the Negro is transformed into the enlivened carefree attitude of Jes Grew. Thepersonalfreedom which had been burning inside the people is suddenly expelled and lived out asif there was nothing to stand in their way.
The? irrepressible fancy? is to get up and express themselves through music, dance, and? the speaks? (154).
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The epidemic spreads in a manner just as it exists, for as it pops up all over the country it evokes spontaneous activity in its victims. Jes Grew acts as a drug to those infected by it, which causes them to express themselves in otherwise unacceptable ways. ? The kids want to dance belly to belly and cheek to cheek… The kids want to Funky Butt while their elders prefer the Waltz… ? (21).
And just as the deleterious effects of drugs destroy one? s ability to contribute to the advancement of society, so does Jes Grew stagger the nation? s ability to advance as a whole. Akin to the bootlegging of the 1920? s, Jes Grew persists despite being outlawed. Yet still the societal advocates attempt to stop the contagion. In one week? 16 people have been fired from their jobs for manifesting symptoms of Jes Grew? (21).
It is those in charge, the white bosses and politicians, who feel threatened by of personal freedom. ? …
Jes Grew is immune to the old remedies, the saving Virus in the blood of Europe… ? (18).
The greater the enthusiasm for personal enjoyment, the less achievement can be made towards modernity, and this is the trend which those in charge looked to put an end to. The sense of emergence conveyed in the interpretation? just grew? identifies also with the musical movement of the 1920? s. ? For if the Jazz Age is year for year the Essences and Symptoms of the times, then Jes Grew is the germ making it rise yeast-like across the American plain? (20).
Previous musical styles had traditionally been such that every note played was indicated on the sheet of music.
However, jazz unleashed the art of improvisation which allowed the music to transcend the dots and stems painted on the page. ? Once we had? ragged? words; now we? jazzed up? everything? (115).
Notes merely served as a skeleton for the music to emerge from. James WeldonJohnsondescribed Jes Grew in terms of the music of the 1920? s. ? Its words were unprintable but its tune irresistible? (211).
Still indefinable, ? Jes Grew, the Something or Other that led Charlie Parker to scale the Everest’s of the Chord.
Riff fly skid dip soar and gave his Alto Godspeed? (211).
Although set up by the forerunner of ragtime, jazz appear on the music scene as a marvel distinct from anything before. Infact, Reed? s intention may have been for a second reading of the phrase to be? just groove. ? This emergent form of music leads the world to just sit back, relax, and feel the groove. If Jes Grew is nothing more than a spontaneous craze to act out personal freedom, be it through jazz, art, or any form of expression, then it seems peculiar that both the factions for and against it would need to acquire a physical text to serve their purposes. Further, Hinkle Von Vampton aids the Hierophant in recompiling the text ofJes Grew into a readable anthology despite having been the one who dispersed the text in the first place.
Jazz by Toni Morrison Toni Morrison, a brilliant author of Jazz, has been immersed into a wonderful world of music since her very early childhood, which she spent in Lorain, Ohio. Morrisons mother, Ramah Willis, was a true musician, who was a jazz and opera singer and also played piano for a silent movie theatre. Toni was growing up listening to her mothers singing from Ella Fitzgerald and the ...
Yet upon destruction of the 14 th copy in the possession of Abdul Hamid, the Jes Grew movement is destroyed just as completely as if the Wallflower Order in recompiling the text. As odd as the circumstances may seem, it has worked that way for two thousand years. ? … Jes Grew needs its words and steps, or else it becomes merely a flair-up. Without substance it never fully catches on? (213).
While at the same time, Jes Grew? s opposition knows, ? You must capture its celebration and the nit will dissolve? (64).
It works in this unusual way to serve the metaphor for which it stands more accurately. Knowing that Jes Grew in fact symbolizes the personal and aesthetic people, one can see that its followers would want their new freedom and rights in writing. Otherwise, their freedom can be renounced as quickly and easily as it was given. The Neo-HooDoo advocates understand this well on their course to uncover the text ofJes Grew, as their VooDoo following forefathers had experienced this fighting for the freedom of Haiti from France. By burning the document which embodies the freedom of Papa Lab as and the Jes Grew followers, Abdul destroys the solidity of that freedom which had been temporarily acquired.
Abdul represents that part of the population that is not against the freedom of blacks for racist reasons, but rather because of a conservative mindset which opposes change of any kind. ? I black people could never have been involved in such a lewd, nasty, decadent thing ass depicted here. This material is obviously a fabrication by the infernal fiend himself! ! So, into the fire she goes! ! ? (202).
Peter Colley Humanities 3340-03 Portfolio # 2 Summary The values demonstrated in the documents are freedom and bravery. The martyrs believed in the right to worship freely as they saw fit and were willing to die for that freedom. They demonstrated bravery in their willingness to die such a cruel death for the cause of Christ. The contemporary event that parallels that of the martyrs is the ...
Abdul renounces the ability of the black people to change so drastically and rapidly, and, in so doing, he destroys the neoteric mindset that they had acquired. To the black population, the text of Jes Grew is the means by which organize their new found personal freedom into a unified sense of power.
They must join together and form a national identity which will influence the mindset of all Americans. This is represented by the pandemic spreading of Jes Grew from the South, to Chicago, and then on to New York. However, as it blankets the nation it also focuses itself on a single location. This single location is Harlem where the text of Jes Grew is located. ? Jes Grew is inclined toward New York, because it senses that the key to its Book is there… It merely will have to be told what to do and then…
The black followers of Jes Grew are in search of a leader. Once this leader, the text, is found in Harlem, the instructions on how to act further to gain influence in America will be given. From there the power and freedom of the people as a whole can be solidified. Running simultaneously to the search for a unifying leader, the WallflowerOrderis in search of the text of Jes Grew to reconstruct the anthology and crush the movement. With the compiled anthology which Von Vampton proposes to reconstruct, a single, clear understanding of the beast.
By amassing the 14 Harlem, the whites are symbolically capturing the essence of the craze which is spread amongst the people and identifying it as a single manageable. In a way, the Wallflower Order is attempting to stop Jes Grew by getting a look behind the scenes at the mission plan so they know what they need to prepare to fight against. With a firm understanding of Jes Grew in their possession, the Wallflower Order has the means to construct a talking android which can act in direct opposition to the movement. The android would take Jes Grew and? analyze it categorize it expel it slay it? (17).
This android would have a focus, a single goal against which it could function. Reed uses the term android to impress upon his audience the concept of pre-programming.
Lisa GrossenbacherPhl. 201 T&Th 2-22-01 Words 2, 418 Desire for Freedom and Desire for Limitations on Freedom People can have the desire for freedom as well as the desire for limitations on freedom. This is because freedom and limitations on freedom are both needed to live peacefully. Absolute freedom cannot be achieved because when you take away limitations you take away freedoms. With out ...
The android delivers messages against Jes Grew strictly which it understands Jes Grew to be. The implication of such unresponsive, propagandist ic attacks is to draw a comparison to the oppressive hand empowerment. This message is delivered to people on many levels. Itspeaks to the unreceptive government of the 1920? s which had continued a despite the obvious upheaval it caused during prohibition. Itspeaks to the governmental figureheads of the 1950? s whom, up until the culminated CivilRightsMovement, had disallowed the rights of blacks based entirely on their ancestry rather than the content of their character. And it speaks to the people of the 1970? s, all of whom could identify with the hated ideals of Communism during the Cold War.
There-programmed concepts of Communism were ones which Americans of Ishmael Reed? s time understood well to be unwelcome. This was the motivation behind Reed? comparison between the ideals of Communism and those of theWallflowerOrder embodied in the talking android. Jes Grew is a phenomenon that, even labeled and categorized neatly by one faction or another, remains identifiable only at the personal level. Those infected with the anti-plague embody the qualities of freedom, but not just freedom from oppression. They experience freedom from society and its constraints, freedom thought, freedom from themselves. Each case is embodied differently by its carrier depending on the form of expression he or she chooses to display.
But one trend remains common throughout the Jes Grew outbreak, and that is that it allows people to stand apart from the programmed mindset of the period. With enough together, unified by a common goal and opposed only by a power blind to that goal, Jes Grew is a phenomenon of revolutionary proportions that the times.