Devil In A Blue Dress: Chapters 1-14
In the first fourteen chapters of “Devil In A Blue Dress” by Walter Mosley, Mosley introduces a character named Ezekiel Rawlins, or Easy. Easy is a home owner and takes great pride that he is one, but he is fired from his job at Champion because Easy did not want to work an extra hour. Since he has no job he does not know how he will pay his mortgage. Joppy, a friend of Easy, knows of Easy’s situation and arranges a job for him with a man named DeWitt Albright. Easy’s mission is simple at first, to find where Daphne Monet is located and report back, but it soon turns out to be far more complex and dangerous.
The setting is in Los Angeles in the year of 1948, after World War II. Easy is in Joppy’s bar and notices a white man, named DeWitt Albright, walk in. Easy notices that Albright is white and is dressed in all white. Easy then recalls that he is “used to white people” because he fought in the war (Devil 45). Joppy calls Easy over and tells him that Albright has a job for him and will give more details at another location. Easy feels that Albright does shady business and does not trust him. Easy figures that he needs the money because he loves his home and will do anything to keep his home. Easy would do anything to keep his home because this is only possession he has ever had since he grew up on a sharecropper’s farm.
Easy goes to the location to find out more details about the job Albright has for him. Easy runs into a white man who frustrates him enough to make Easy want to rip his face off, like he had done “to another white boy” (59). Finally, the man grants him access and he meets with Albright after a second encounter with body guards. Albright’s job for Easy is to find a light haired, blue eyed woman whose name is Daphne Monet. Albright was hired by another person to find Monet, but Albright does not have the “right persuasion” (63). Easy is unsure of this job and does not know what he is getting himself into because he does not want to cause any harm to anyone. Albright comforts Easy by telling him all he wants is to know where she is and he will him give enough money so Easy can pay his mortgage to keep his home and find him a job after this job is done. Easy accepts and Albright directs him to a bar that used to be a speakeasy before Prohibition was repealed, John’s place. Easy runs into a man named Junior and he begins his journey looking for Daphne.
Easy and Junior converse over a few beers about Howard Green’s murder. Howard Green was the chauffeur to Matthew Teran, who had recently dropped out of the running to become mayor. Junior then changes the topic to a man named Mouse and he asks Easy what ever happened to Mouse. Easy tells Junior that it has “been so long I don’t even remember”, however Easy lies and he does remember (76). Easy recalls that he last talked to Mouse about his stepfathers and biological son’s murders. Mouse murdered his stepfather and blamed it on another man Clifton. However, Mouse’s stepfather’s son, Navrochet, did not believe that Clifton killed his father but it was Mouse. Navrochet tried to kill Mouse but fails and he kills Navrochet instead. After Easy is done thinking to himself, he asks Junior about Daphne, but pretends that he does not know her real name. Junior does not know who she is, but Easy suspects Junior is lying. Easy walks over to the bar and sits next to his friend named Odell Jones. Then, Dupree, a former co-worker of Easy walks into the bar along with his girlfriend Coretta. The four of them have drinks and Dupree passes out. Easy helps Coretta put Dupree to bed and Coretta starts to seduce Easy. Easy at first does not flirt back but Coretta reveals that she is a friend of Daphne’s. They have sex, even though Easy is Dupree’s friend. Easy leaves when he thinks Dupree is waking up. When Easy arrives home he receives a letter from Mouse. Mouse will be coming to town to visit and Easy...
Cited: Mosley, Walter. Devil in a Blue Dress. New York: Pocket, 1990. Print.
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