Devil in a Blue Dress

Complicated By Color

There are several subtle images in Walter Mosley's detective novel Devil In a Blue Dress that suggest the unusual ending. Throughout the novel, the main character, a black man named Easy Rawlins, sees people as either black or white. He is especially aware of the white people around him and constantly comments on their color. This distinction is a common theme throughout the novel and both puts the novel in the context of post-WWII America and also helps to complicate the ending by showing that the binary world of black and white is just a matter of perception.

The character of DeWitt Albright is introduced in the first paragraph of the novel. Upon seeing Albright for the first time Rawlins considers, "It's not just that he was white but he wore an off-white linen suit and shirt with a Panama straw hat and bone shoes over flashing white silk socks." (45) It not only describes Albright as a Caucasian man, but he is literally, in every aspect, a white man. The word "white" is used three times in just this one sentence. As the novel continues and more characters are introduced, Mosley continues describing them in terms of their skin color. In a scene where Easy goes to see Albright in his office, he is...

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