A Story in Harlem Slang

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Kristina Medina
English ½
10/26/12

So you think you have game
"It must be Jelly, 'cause jam don't shake”, A Story in Harlem Slang, by Zora Neale Hurston. Sweet Back and Jelly are two wanna-be pimps that are lost in a world full of wants just struggling to get by. Though Jelly and Sweet Back claim they have game, the woman that walks by, schools them both, yet she is not the one with the most game. Jelly and Sweet Back do have some game they both assume that they are better than one another. When Jelly comments about a woman he was with the night before, “…You must of not seen ,me, 'cause last night I was riding round in a Yellow Cab, with a yellow gal, drinking yellow likker and spending yellow money...” Sweet Back replies with saying, "Git out of my face, Jelly! Dat broad I seen you with wasn't no pe-ola. She was one of them coal-scuttle blondes with hair just as close to her head as ninety-nine is to a hundred. She look-ted like she had seventy-five pounds of clear bosom, guts in her feet, and she look-ted like six months in front and nine months behind. Buy you a whiskey still! Dat broad couldn't make the down payment on a pair of sox." Sweet Back is implying that Jelly is a liar and that he was with a beat and broke girl. This was an excellent snap because Jelly did not have anything to retort with. As they continue talking Jelly claims, “Know what my woman done? We hauled off and went to church last Sunday, and when they passed 'round the plate for the penny collection, I throwed in a dollar. De man looked at me real hard for dat. Dat made my woman mad, so she called him back and throwed in a twenty dollar bill! Told him to take dat and go! Dat's what he got for looking at me 'cause I throwed in a dollar.” When the man looked at Jelly for throwing dollar in the penny collection, his reaction was surprised; we know this because his “woman” called the guy back to throw in $20 to prove that they could afford it. Sweet Back replies and only says that he...
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