Jazz’s seamstress


While reading Jazz the second time, while writing my essay, I began blowing my own mind by thinking of symbolic reasons behind the character of Alice Manfred. Not only is this woman the guardian of Joe’s young (dead) mistress, she’s also a seamstress. And almost every time Violet goes to her house, she fixes up her clothing, (jacket, dress, etc) and then it hit me, she sews and stitches Violet’s marriage back together. I don’t know why I found this point interesting, but I thought it was neat. Also, I want to discuss why Alice would befriend Violet, is it that she pities her, or because she sympathizes her? When reading through Alice’s section its easy to acknowledge the fact that Alice is not that fond of Violet. In fact, she does not actually let Violet into her house until a month after Violet’s first visit. Then after many mornings of tea and chats they seem to have grown close(r) and as a reader you learn that Alice’s husband left her. Originally I thought he died, but he cheated on her and she told him to choose; her or his tightly dressed friend. Well we know who he chose. However, when it comes to Violet and Joe’s relationship, Alice advises her to hold onto it and make it work, which personally I think is bad advice, but from Alice’s perspective it is likely because she doesn’t want to see Violet go through what she has. In conclusion, I think Alice does not pity Violet, instead I think she sympathizes in the sense that she knows what Violet is going through, and deep down she regrets how she handled her own marriage. To fully clarify, I read the affair with Dorcas as pulling and tearing apart a fraying piece of cloth, which signifies Violet and Joe’s marriage. Then, like the ends of Violet’s dress (82) Alice being a seamstress comes in with her friendship and sews the fraying clothes, and the marriage, back together.

Works Cited

Morrison, Toni. Jazz. New York: Vintage Books, 2004. Print.

2 Thoughts.

  1. This is a fantastic post! I really like what you noticed about Alice being a seamstress…I hadn’t paid attention to that at all and it makes a lot of sense. I also think that Alice befriending Violet because she empathizes with her given Alice’s own experience of losing her husband makes sense too. He does die, but only after Alice has told him to choose and he chose the other woman. Thanks for raising this interesting reading!

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