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Gilded Six Bits

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Zora Neal Hurston wrote "The Gilded Six-Bits" shortly after her first divorce. 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,



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