Analytical Essay – “Jesse”

Jesse is a short story written by Joy Boothe in 2012. It is written in first person narrator. It takes place in Alabama, USA and starts in 1957, where the narrator is a little girl. In the 1950’s segregation was a normal part of the society.

She grew up together with her mother, father and her little sister. We also hear about her granny. She had a very strong opinion when it came to colored people and was very racist and did not think that whites and blacks should interfere with each other. It was a very common attitude in the American society, among whites, back then.

In the short story we follow our protagonist from when she was a little girl till she is a grown woman. She had an uncle, Jesse. He was a drunk and she was very scared of him. Therefore, she hated the name, but this changes throughout the story, when she got to know another Jesse. Her father worked at a glue mill.

Jesse also worked here. Jesse was a nigger, as it was called back then. Her father talked a lot about Jesse, and our protagonist sensed that her father really liked him.

At one point, Jesse came home to help dig up the septic tank. She heard that Jesse and her father were really having a good time, while working together.

They were talking and laughing a lot. This was our protagonist’s first meeting with Jesse. She met him several times, when she brought supper to her father at the mill. Jesse was a very kind and warm person, and Jesse was no longer a name, she hated.

One day while Jesse was working at the glue press, it grabbed his arm and jerked him into the shoulder. It cut off Jesse’s arm.

Her father was there and did what he could to help. It was very traumatizing for him, and he came home sick and was shaking all over. Jesse lost his job at the mill but was not bitter.

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