University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
All That Glitters Isn’t Gold
As humans, we all have a desire to have things that are beyond what we can afford. As a result, we start to have strong feelings of envy and jealousy towards that people who possess what it is that we cannot have. In the short story “The Gilded Six Bits” by Zora Neale Hurston, Joe quickly became fascinated with a big talker from Chicago named Otis D. Slemmons. Otis claimed that women gave him money and adored him. This interest that Joe had with the gold accessories that Otis owned lead to problems in Joe’s marriage with Missy May.
Joe and Missy May will realize that everything that glitters isn’t gold, and that they should be content with what they already possessed. When Joes tells his wife Missy May about all the gold and women that Otis has, she feels as if she would make her husband a happier man if she could provide for Joe what women provided for Otis. Missy May wanted to give Joe gold to prove her love for him. Unfortunately, Missy May did not understand how much Joe cherished her even after he told her “Don’t be so wishful ’bout me.
Ah’m satisfied de way Ah is. So long as Ah be yo’ husband. Ah don’t keer ’bout nothin’ else. ” Missy May knew that the only way she could get any gold was to give herself to Otis and exchange for it. She told Joe “Us might find some goin’ long de road some time. Us could. ” to possibly lead him from any bad thoughts that he may get if she did her obtain any gold. After several visits to the ice cream parlor that Otis owned, Joe came home from work early only to find his wife in their bed with Otis.
After the incident, Missy May cries and apologizes desperately, in order to get Joe to believe that she only slept with Otis to get some of his money. Joe found the gold coin that Otis left behind, and noticed that it was only a gilded coin. Joe carried the coin around with him, realizing that he brought this situation upon himself, which is probably why he did not choose to leave Missy May. Day by day, the couple drifted further away from each other. Joe’s punishment towards Missy May was silent treatment.
Missy May suffered from great depression for months, but she refused to leave Joe because she loved him too much. She no longer found it necessary to get out of bed to cook Joe breakfast or even wash his clothes anymore. Missy May would not even get out of bed to get dressed until Joe was gone. Joe still felt the need to punish Missy May by leaving the gold piece under her pillow, to show that he can pay just as well as Otis can for her love. After, carefully observing the coin, Missy Mae realized that it was not genuine.
She had thrown away her happiness for a man who was a liar and a cheater. Joe was a merciful man, and allowed the trust between his wife and himself to rebuild again. When Missy Mae founds out that she is pregnant, Joe shows honest concern for her and the baby when he comes home and sees her chopping wood. Knowing what Missy May have done with Otis, he was aware that there was a possibility that the baby could not be his. After Missy May has the baby, Joe’s mother confirms that the baby is his by saying “You oughter be mighty proud cause he sho is de spittin’ image of yuh, son.
“The Gilded Six Bits” by Zora Neale Hurston, is a great example of the consequences that can result from being absorbed in material things. Joe and Missy May were fooled by Otis Slemmon’s gilded pieces. Joe wanted what Otis had, and Missy May wanted to give it to him. They realized that money is does not guarantee happiness, and their case it nearly destroyed their marriage. After Joe and Missy May understood that everything that glitters isn’t gold, they understand that they already possessed the real treasure, which was the love that they showed for one another.