Ishmael What was not there yesterday has

Ishmael What was not there yesterday has

Ishmael Reed, through parody, allusion, and satire, manages to convey themeaning of Jes Grew without once explicitly defining it. There is a goodreason why henever defines it; Jes Grew has no true definition. Even those infected bythis?anti-plague? that evokes the jump, jive, and wail, do what you feel likespirit inside ofthem, can?t put their finger on exactly what is ?this Jes Grew thing? (33).One cannotexplain Jes Grew without destroying its carefree feeling.

Yet without?finding its text,?Jes Grew ?will peter out as in the 1890?s, when it wasn?t ready and had nowhere tosearch? (34). Ironically, this set both pro and anti-Jes Grew advocates onan identicalpath: to seek out its text. Apparently an inevitable outcome, this essaytoo will seek outthe implications of the sought after text and the exact meaning of thatinfectious fictionwhich Reed so delicately tip-toed around.

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Jes Grew at first glance reads as ?just grew.? Reed chose these words togive thephenomenon a sense of emergence. What was not there yesterday has suddenlyappearedtoday because it just recently grew. What used to be the mundane, every daylife of theNegro is transformed into the enlivened carefree attitude of Jes Grew. Thepersonalfreedom which had been burning inside the people is suddenly expelled andlived out asif there was nothing to stand in their way. The ?irrepressible fancy? is toget up andexpress themselves through music, dance, and ?the speaks? (154).

Theepidemic spreadsin a manner just as it exists, for as it pops up all over the country itevokes spontaneousactivity in its victims. Jes Grew acts as a drug to those infected by it,which causes themto express themselves in otherwise unacceptable ways. ?The kids want todance belly tobelly and cheek to cheek….

The kids want to Funky Butt while their eldersprefer theWaltz…? (21). And just as the deleterious effects of drugs destroy one?sability tocontribute to the advancement of society, so does Jes Grew stagger thenation?s ability toadvance as a whole.Akin to the bootlegging of the 1920?s, Jes Grew persists despite beingoutlawed.Yet still the societal advocates attempt to stop the contagion.

In one week?16 peoplehave been fired from their jobs for manifesting symptoms of Jes Grew? (21).It is thosein charge, the white bosses and politicians, who feel threatened by thespontaneousemergence of personal freedom. ?…Jes Grew is immune to the old remedies,the savingVirus in the blood of Europe.

..? (18).

The greater the enthusiasm forpersonal enjoyment,the less achievement can be made towards modernity, and this is the trendwhich those incharge looked to put an end to.The sense of emergence conveyed in the interpretation ?just grew?identifies alsowith the musical movement of the 1920?s. ?For if the Jazz Age is year foryear theEssences and Symptoms of the times, then Jes Grew is the germ making it riseyeast-likeacross the American plain? (20). Previous musical styles had traditionallybeen such thatevery note played was indicated on the sheet of music. However, jazzunleashed the artof improvisation which allowed the music to transcend the dots and stemspainted on thepage. ?Once we had ?ragged? words; now we ?jazzed up? everything? (115).Notesmerely served as a skeleton for the music to emerge from.

James WeldonJohnsondescribed Jes Grew in terms of the music of the 1920?s. ?Its words wereunprintable butits tune irresistible? (211). Still indefinable, ?Jes Grew, the Somethingor Other that ledCharlie Parker to scale the Everests of the Chord.

Riff fly skid dip soarand gave his AltoGodspeed? (211). Although set up by the forerunner of ragtime, jazz seemedtospontaneously appear on the music scene as a marvel distinct from anythingbefore. Infact, Reed?s intention may have been for a second reading of the phrase tobe ?justgroove.

? This emergent form of music leads the world to just sit back,relax, and feel thegroove.If Jes Grew is nothing more than a spontaneous craze to act out personalfreedom,be it through jazz, art, or any form of expression, then it seems peculiarthat both thefactions for and against it would need to acquire a physical text to servetheir purposes.Further, Hinckle Von Vampton aids the Hierophant in recompiling the text ofJes Grewinto a readable anthology despite having been the one who dispersed the textin the firstplace. Yet upon destruction of the 14th copy in the possession of AbdulHamid, the JesGrew movement is destroyed just as completely as if the Wallflower Order hadbeensuccessful in recompiling the text.

As odd as the circumstances may seem,it has workedthat way for two thousand years. ?…

Jes Grew needs its words and steps, orelse itbecomes merely a flair-up. Without substance it never fully catches on?(213). While atthe same time, Jes Grew?s opposition knows, ?You must capture itscelebration and thenit will dissolve? (64). It works in this unusual way to serve the metaphorfor which itstands more accurately.Knowing that Jes Grew in fact symbolizes the personal and aesthetic freedomofthe people, one can see that its followers would want their new freedom andrights inwriting. Otherwise, their freedom can be renounced as quickly and easily asit was given.

The Neo-HooDoo advocates understand this well on their course to uncover thetext ofJes Grew, as their VooDoo following forefathers had experienced this exactbetrayalwhile fighting for the freedom of Haiti from France. By burning thedocument whichembodies the freedom of Papa Labas and the Jes Grew followers, Abduldestroys thesolidity of that freedom which had been temporarily acquired. Abdulrepresents that partof the population that is not against the freedom of blacks for racistreasons, but ratherbecause of a conservative mindset which opposes change of any kind.

?I havedecidedthat black people could never have been involved in such a lewd, nasty,decadent thing asis depicted here. This material is obviously a fabrication by the infernalfiend himself!!So, into the fire she goes!!? (202). Abdul renounces the ability of theblack people tochange so drastically and rapidly, and, in so doing, he destroys theneoteric mindset thatthey had acquired.

To the black population, the text of Jes Grew is the means by which thepeoplecan organize their new found personal freedom into a unified sense of power.They mustjoin together and form a national identity which will influence the mindsetof allAmericans. This is represented by the pandemic spreading of Jes Grew fromthe South,to Chicago, and then on to New York. However, as it blankets the nation italso focusesitself on a single location. This single location is Harlem where the textof Jes Grew islocated. ?Jes Grew is inclined toward New York, because it senses that thekey to itsBook is there..

.. It merely will have to be told what to do and then..

.?(69). The blackfollowers of Jes Grew are in search of a leader. Once this leader, thetext, is found inHarlem, the instructions on how to act further to gain influence in Americawill be given.From there the power and freedom of the people as a whole can be solidified.Running simultaneously to the search for a unifying leader, the WallflowerOrderis in search of the text of Jes Grew to reconstruct the anthology and crushthe movement.With the compiled anthology which Von Vampton proposes to reconstruct, theywillhave a single, clear understanding of the beast.

By amassing the 14 textsscatteredthroughout Harlem, the whites are symbolically capturing the essence of thecraze whichis spread amongst the people and identifying it as a single manageable andsuppressibleentity. In a way, the Wallflower Order is attempting to stop Jes Grew bygetting a lookbehind the scenes at the mission plan so they know what they need to prepareto fightagainst. With a firm understanding of Jes Grew in their possession, theWallflower Orderhas the means to construct a talking android which can act in directopposition to themovement. The android would take Jes Grew and ?analyze it categorize itexpel it slayit? (17).

This android would have a focus, a single goal against which itcould function.Reed uses the term android to impress upon his audience the concept ofpre-programming. The android delivers messages against Jes Grew strictly todestroythat which it understands Jes Grew to be. The implication of suchunresponsive,propagandistic attacks is to draw a comparison to the oppressive hand ofwhitegovernment empowerment. This message is delivered to people on many levels.

Itspeaks to the unreceptive government of the 1920?s which had continued a banonalcohol despite the obvious upheaval it caused during prohibition. Itspeaks to thegovernmental figureheads of the 1950?s whom, up until the culminated CivilRightsMovement, had disallowed the rights of blacks based entirely on theirancestry ratherthan the content of their character. And it speaks to the people of the1970?s, all ofwhom could identify with the hated ideals of Communism during the Cold War.Thepre-programmed concepts of Communism were ones which Americans of IshmaelReed?s time understood well to be unwelcome.

This was the motivation behindReed?ssatiristic comparison between the ideals of Communism and those of theWallflowerOrder embodied in the talking android.Jes Grew is a phenomenon that, even labeled and categorized neatly by onefaction or another, remains identifiable only at the personal level. Thoseinfected withthe anti-plague embody the qualities of freedom, but not just freedom fromoppression.They experience freedom from society and its constraints, freedom frompreviousmonotone thought, freedom from themselves. Each case is embodieddifferently by itscarrier depending on the form of expression he or she chooses to display.

But one trendremains common throughout the Jes Grew outbreak, and that is that it allowspeople tostand apart from the programmed mindset of the period. With enough freemindsgathered together, unified by a common goal and opposed only by a powerblind to thatgoal, Jes Grew is a phenomenon of revolutionary proportions that holdsconstantthroughout the times.Words/ Pages : 1,588 / 24

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