Character Analysis Brother Jack


In the character of Brother Jack, Ellison merges the trickster of black folklore with the trickery and deceptiveness of whites toward blacks. According to black folklore, Jack (or John) is the great human culture hero who usually defeats "Ole Massa, God and the Devil."

As symbolized by his single eye, Jack is partially blind and sees blacks only as a group, not as individuals. His one eye also conjures up the image of the Cyclops, the one-eyed creatures who capture Odysseus' men. Considering the theme of games and gaming, Jack is not, as the narrator remarks at one point, one of "the kings of the earth;" he is simply a One-Eyed Jack, a wild card whose value depends on the game being played.