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Jazz | Study Guide

Toni Morrison

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Jazz | Part Summaries

See Part Summaries Chart

Timeline of Events

  • 1850s

    Vera Louise Gray moves with True Belle to Baltimore and gives birth to Golden Gray.

    Part 6
  • Early 1870s

    Golden Gray goes to Vienna to meet his father, Henry LesTroy. Wild gives birth to Joe and flees.

    Part 7
  • Mid-1870s

    Violet is born to Rose Dear. They live in poverty; neighbors keep them afloat.

    Part 4
  • Late 1880s

    Rose Dear's goods are repossessed. True Belle comes home to care for her and the children.

    Part 4
  • Early 1890s

    Rose Dear commits suicide. Violet goes to work in fields and meets Joe; they marry.

    Part 4
  • 1906

    Joe and Violet leave the South, headed for Baltimore, but continue on to Harlem.

    Part 2
  • 1917

    East St. Louis riots kill Dorcas's parents. Alice adopts her niece and brings her to Harlem.

    Part 3
  • 1925

    Joe meets and falls in love with Dorcas; their affair begins.

    Part 2
  • January 1926

    Joe finds Dorcas at the party with Acton and kills her. Violet slashes Dorcas's face at the funeral.

    Part 1
  • February–March 1926

    Violet and Alice befriend each other and grieve their losses. Joe and Violet begin to reconcile.

    Part 3

Part Summaries Chart

Part Summary
Part 1 An unnamed narrator plunges into the story's climax with, "Sth, I know that woman." That woman, Violet, barged into a fu... Read More
Part 2 Without her birds, Violet misses the calming bedtime routine of covering the cages, and her nights are troubled by Dorca... Read More
Part 3 In July 1917 Alice Manfred stands on Fifth Avenue as men march to a drumbeat to protest deadly race riots in East St. Lo... Read More
Part 4 Violet feels that there are two Violets. One Violet looked for the missing knife for months. The other—"that Violet"—kne... Read More
Part 5 Joe sits at his window, weeping openly, as Violet washes his handkerchiefs, though the narrator suspects she'd rather "l... Read More
Part 6 The narrator can only imagine what True Belle feels, returning to Rome, Virginia, in 1888 as a free woman, wages in hand... Read More
Part 7 The story jumps ahead 13 years as Henry LesTroy narrates by way of a flashback. The woman who gave birth in his house li... Read More
Part 8 Finally Joe finds the right party, an "adult party" where gin makes the talk witty and the partners willing. He can tell... Read More
Part 9 The residents of Lenox Avenue "preen" in the beautiful weather. Musicians on the rooftops change their tune, playing "hi... Read More
Part 10 The narrator admits that Joe and Violet "contradicted" her prediction, being "changeable." She never really knew what Jo... Read More
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