Study Guide

Jazz Chapter 6

By Toni Morrison

Chapter 6

  • Time to time-travel: This time we're way back in time and True Belle (Violet's grandmother) is leaving for Baltimore.
  • She returned in 1888, in time to see her daughter Rose Dear go off her rocker.
  • True Belle left Baltimore because she claimed she was dying, but she didn't die until 1899—that's a long period of dying.
  • She told all her grandchildren about a marvelous man with the awesomely fantastic name of Golden Gray.
  • Golden Gray was the son of Vera Louise, the woman that True Belle worked for; Golden Gray is biracial.
  • So True Belle, Golden Grey, and Vera Louise lived in a sweet house in Baltimore. Vera Louise claims she left her Virginia home for the big city of Baltimore because her family was too stifling. That's partially true…
  • … But it also has to do with her illegitimate son, Golden Gray. The father was a guy who used to go horseback riding, and, uh, do other things, with Vera Louise.
  • When Vera Louise's family found out, they were scandalized. Especially her father, who was a respectable man… but also had a bunch of illegitimate children with his slaves.
  • So Vera Louise packs up to go to Baltimore with True Belle. The plan is to drop Golden Gray at an orphanage, but Vera Louise loves him so much she doesn't want to leave him.
  • They're a big happy family in Baltimore for eighteen years.
  • True Belle loved Golden Gray like a son. Oh, we get it now: Golden Gray is the magnificent golden man that haunted Violet's childhood.
  • Oh, welcome back, nameless narrator. Who are you?
  • The narrator sees Golden Gray in a two-seater carriage. It's the red convertible of carriages, and he's all dressed up in his finest.
  • He's driving down a country road when he sees a naked black woman with big eyes. That's weird.
  • The woman crashes into a tree and loses consciousness. Oops, she's also hugely pregnant. Golden Gray picks her up and puts her in his carriage, which is nice, even though he's a little more preoccupied with his clothes than he is with her. Jerk.
  • He's going toward a little town named Vienna… to find his father, Henry LesTroy. He has just been told, after eighteen years, that his father is black. Up until now, Golden Gray has thought that he is white. Dang.
  • He gets to the house that he has been told is his daddy's. And then he does what anyone would do, and puts the unconscious woman on a bed and drinks some of the alcohol that's been left in the house, and makes a fire.
  • Oh wow. He's only known that his father was a black man for a week now, and he's already gone to track him down. This information is fresh in his mind.
  • A young man on horseback approaches the house. He totally thinks Golden Gray is white, and he tells Golden Gray that yes, he's in the house that belongs to Henry LesTroy; Henry LesTroy will be back in a bit.
  • After a few paragraphs of description of Golden Gray we can safely come to the conclusion that he a selfish, spoiled brat. A nice guy, too, but still selfish and spoiled.
  • While he waits for Henry LesTroy to show up, Golden Gray watches the unconscious woman fearfully.
  • His world was really rocked when he found out his father was black. It means that he could have been born a slave, for one thing, and he just has a bit of an identity crisis about it in general.
  • The young man, who works for Henry LesTroy, is nicer to the unconscious woman than Golden Gray was. He cleans the blood from her face, for one thing, which it totally seems like Golden Gray could have done.

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