Devil in a Blue Dress

Devil in a Blue Dress Summary and Analysis of Chapters 25-26


Chapter 25

Easy arrives at the Sunridge motel, in a Mexican neighborhood on the south side of L.A. Mrs. Guitierra, the woman running the motel, distrusts him and tells him that there are no men allowed in the rooms. After he insists, she tells him where to find Daphne. Easy runs to her door, which she answers in a bathrobe. While they are talking, Mrs. Guitierra comes to the door with two men. They leave only when Daphne tells them Easy is her friend and that he will wait for her in his car. Easy tells Daphne Mr. Carter wants her back and Mr. Albright wants the money she stole. Daphne retorts that she is never going back to him. Easy tells Daphne to come with him.

After paying her rent, they drive to Primo's old, wrecked mansion. Primo is a short, old Mexican man Easy knows from his days as a gardener. He explains that they had the freedom to be friends "... Back in 1948, before Mexicans and black people started hating each other. Back then, before ancestry had been discovered, a Mexican and a Negro considered themselves the same. That is to say, just another couple of unlucky stiffs holding the short end of the stick." Easy pays Primo ten dollars for two nights' stay in the mansion. He then shows Daphne the scar on his neck from Frank's knife and his bruises from the police interrogation. His rage disables him, so Daphne leads him to the bathroom where she helps him undress and get into a bath. He has a feeling that death is coming for him, but doesn't care.

Chapter 26

Daphne has Easy naked and totally at ease in the bathtub. She washes him in a doting and sexual manner. In retrospect, Easy proclaims his unusual attraction to Daphne: "I never felt drawn to a woman the way I was to Daphne Money. Most beautiful women make me feel like I want to touch them, own them. But Daphne made me look inside myself. She'd whisper a sweet word and I was brought back to the first time I felt love and loss. I was remembering my mother's death, back when I was only eight..." When she is finished washing Easy, Daphne strips naked too and leads Easy into the bedroom, whispering bold erotic suggestions that surprise him. They make love passionately and even violently all through the night. In retrospect, Easy says he cannot call Daphne crazy. Yet she released a desperate passion in him. As he describes it, "My heart and chest opened as wide as the sky for that woman."

Eventually, Easy pries himself out of Daphne's arms and gets down to business. After some coaxing, she reveals what she knows about Howard Green. Mr. Carter, whom she calls Todd, did not want Matthew Teran to run for mayor because Daphne had told him about Teran's Mexican boy, whom he bought from Richard. Daphne and Richard were dating before she left him for Mr. Carter. After that, Richard teamed up with Teran and Howard Green to try to "cause [her] trouble" as revenge on Mr. Carter. Howard Green knew something about Daphne, but she will not say what; he died because of that information.

Daphne tells Easy that Joppy beat Howard Green and Coretta James to death. Howard had told Daphne that if she did not follow Teran's instructions, they would "ruin" her. She offered Joppy one thousand dollars to make sure Mr. Albright could not find her and to talk with Howard. Daphne thinks that Joppy killed Howard when their conversation became heated. Then Joppy killed Coretta when Daphne told him that Coretta was in touch with her. He did not kill Daphne because she hadn't paid him yet and because he respected Frank. Easy tries to get Daphne to talk to Mr. Carter, but she refuses on the grounds that she loves him and therefore cannot stand to be near him. She offers Easy two thousand dollars to take her to Frank. They get dressed silently. Easy asks Daphne why she called him the day before. She replies, "I love you, Easy. I knew it from the first moment we met."


In these chapters, Easy finds himself unwittingly in the grasp of the very woman he knows is the source of his and everyone else's troubles. Daphne's ability to seduce him so easily is a testament to her skill as a deceiver. Each character in the novel has a different way of surviving. Easy's is to listen to the voice in his head. Odell's is to run away. Joppy, Junior, and Mouse resort to violence in order to solve their problems. Unlike all of them, Daphne has learned to shape-shift in order to get what she wants in a given situation. It is because of this, more than the fact that she is seen as "evil," that makes her a "devil."

Mosley uses more animal symbolism to explain Daphne's erratic yet skillful behavior. Easy says, "Daphne was like the chameleon lizard. She changed for her man. If he was a mild white man who was afraid to complain to the waiter she'd pull his head to her bosom and pat him. If he was a poor black man who had soaked up pain and rage for a lifetime, she washed his wounds with a rough rag and licked the blood till it staunched." Daphne changes her voice, story, and even her whole personality in order to achieve her goals. Her eyes are a synecdoche for her whole personality, as they change from blue to green at different times. They are simultaneously mesmerizing and dangerous, representing her personality as a whole.

It is only because Daphne is so mesmerizing and skilled at giving men what they want that Easy lets down his guard with her, forgetting that Mr. Albright and others want him dead. We see Daphne's skill at charming men firsthand when Easy gets worked up recounting all the hardship he has been through. Daphne plays the role of the mother, undressing and bathing him. She quickly turns to lover when she leads him out of the bathtub into a night of pleasure and pain.

Their sexual play and intercourse is rough and desperate. Mosley conveys their desperation through strong diction such as "yelled," "screamed," and "wrestled." Daphne wants Easy to hurt as much as she wants him to feel good, because she wants complete power over him. Easy realizes quickly that Daphne is after something deeper than physical satisfaction. Beyond their sexual contact, Easy is fascinated by the needy essence in Daphne that makes her change who she is constantly. He romanticizes, "... Beneath her bold language, Daphne seemed to be asking me for something. And all I wanted was to reach as far down in my soul as I could to find it." Indeed, beyond her more sinister notions, Daphne wants Easy to simply let her be who she is. She refers to nameless people who "won't let us be ourselves." Daphne says that these people "never want us to feel this good or close like this." As we learn later, different social pressures make her hide at least two major elements of her life; that she is part black and that she is a victim of sexual abuse. Together, Easy and Daphne can let out their inner torment through the medium of sex.

Easy and Daphne are able to have such an intimate encounter only in a neutral and secretive setting such as Primo's. There, Easy is not bogged down by thoughts of his precious house and garden, nor is he made to feel inferior by the formality of an office. On more or less equal ground, Daphne and Easy do not feel pressured to be anything or anyone but themselves. When they have sex, Daphne seems as genuinely at ease as Easy. Yet the moment their lovemaking ends and they begin to talk business, Daphne regains her taunting, deceptive nature. When she tells Easy she loves him, she also says, "it'll be gone when we get back," meaning the magical spell of intimacy they have shared. Even though Daphne shows her vulnerability, she is clearly in control.