Jim Jones at Botany Bay in The Hateful Eight

When ya go to hell, John, tell ’em Daisy sent ya…

-Daisy Domergue

Music Throughout History

En media res, Daisy Domergue soothes Minnie’s Haberdashery with her gentle melodious guitar and vocals. Captured as the villain in Quentin Tarantino’s newest film The Hateful Eight, she is cut loose from her chains for a brief moment, long enough to enchant John, the bounty hunter taking her to her death. In the midst of her capture, John allows Daisy to perform a song that ravels the audience in harmony in preparation for a spectacular exit made by John.

The Hateful Eight movie takes place after the American Civil War, where slavery was an extremely controversial topic. During the difficult times for the African American slaves that were attempting to find a solution of how to escape slavery, they would sing songs in groups of people to express their passions of what could be waiting for them once they cross the bridge from slavery to freedom. In their minds, there was an imaginary bridge that would take them from reality, slavery, to their dreams, freedom. The only way they could obtain a brief moment of freedom was to sing their hearts out and put their heart and soul to a song that represented their dreams.Therefore, a song sung by the enslaved African Americans carried a powerful meaning that motivated their spirits to continue working because they believed that one day, they would have the opportunity to better their lives once they attained their freedom. Just as Jim Jones sang his song to escape from his current situation into a different world where he was not captured, but hunting down those who hurt him.The musical pieces continued to uplift the souls of people as their words spilled out of their mouths for everyone to hear of their dreams and hope to be realities. Even in movies, characters can still dream of a better future, and some of them are expressed through music.

Listening to the Tune

Daisy Domergue is a criminal character in the Hateful Eight film who is characterized as a badass. The audience soon witnesses another side of her as she exposes her musical talent, little by little. Her humming briefly reveals her thoughts of who she is as an enslaved criminal wishing to be free. She had begun to hum a song back when she was traveling in the stagecoach as she was approaching Minnie’s haberdashery. Because she was already in chains and being transported to Red Rock where she would face her death, she hummed the song of a man named Jim Jones who was accused and found guilty of a crime that sent him over the seas, where he was attacked by pirates.

Jim Jones’s song dates back to the 19th century in the form of a traditional Australian folk ballad. Jim Jones was found guilty of poaching and was sent over seas for his punishment. However, in route, he is confronted by pirates where he ponders on the thought of joining the pirates instead of reaching his final destination of Botany Bay. One of his captors listens in on his thought of mischief and reminds Jim that any thoughts of mischief would result in a worse punishment. In the final verses of his songs, he continues to dream of an escape and mentions running off to join the bushrangers, who are escaped convicts turned outlaws, and taking revenge on those who did him wrong.

Jim Jones story holds a parallel story to that of Daisy’s in which she was also found guilty of a crime and John transports her over a blizzard to Red Rock, where she is not literally attacked by the blizzard, but forced to take cover under shelter. As a result, because she only hums the tune of song during the ride in the stagecoach, the audience does not obtain the full story to relate the two sides.

Lyrics to the Song

After the Major Warren’s dramatic scene where he shoots General Smithers in a self-defense attack, Daisy immediately asks to play the guitar to sing the song of Jim Jones. As Daisy is tuning the guitar, the shot of the scene expands out to get a full picture of the location. The expansion of the scenery allows the audience to observe the various objects that lies within the cozy home and to conclude on why Daisy would have chosen the guitar instead of something else. With a guitar, Daisy can create a nice complimentary to her vocals as she sings the song, making the song more impactful rather than without an instrument. The beauty of an instrument is that it furthers her privilege and search for freedom because it expands her possibilities of making music.

Daisy Domergue tuning the guitar.

On the other hand, what motivated Daisy to sing the song in the first place was that she witnessed John take a sip out of his coffee cup that was contaminated with poison. Therefore, she was highly confident that the poison would soon settle down in John’s stomach, leaving Daisy free from his custody. Ergo, she was actually given motivation to sing the song rather than find motivation in singing the song. Correspondingly, the meaning of the song changes to her favor in which she knows what the future holds and will use it to her advantage.

Does it Have Another Verse?

John seems to find pleasure in listening to Daisy’s song that he later asks for another verse; however, Daisy takes a risk by singing about how she would escape from John’s custody. The change in purpose for the song changes the direction in which the song is given. Daisy no longer uses the designated song as a call to fight for freedom, it is now used as reassurance of her freedom in her near future.

As she sings the last words to her rewritten version of the song, John immediately grasps the guitar out of her hands and smashes it against the wall, completely destroying one of her forms of freedom. Her rebellious act was a result of changing the lyrics to actions that insult John and his knowledge for Daisy knew that John drank a poisonous coffee and would end his life in a matter of minutes.The act of rebelling against John drove Daisy back into chains, causing a restriction of what she is allowed to do. The act also compares to historical events in which African Americans would rebel in small ways such as singing because it often led to little or no punishment. Hence, Daisy is left in chains and without an instrument that contributed towards her freedom. Now, she must wait for nature to take its course.

John taking that guitar away from Daisy Domergue.

Freedom as a Whole

Freedom was also a controversial topic during and after the American Civil War. Some would argue that freedom was the sole purpose of why war took place after all. In the Hateful Eight movie, freedom was an abstract object that everyone was fighting for. Daisy Domergue was not only fighting for freedom from her chains, but she was also fighting for freedom from Minnie’s Haberdashery. Being confined to a small room with people from all sorts of backgrounds was not exactly comforting. In result, it led to her singing a purposeful song. Within the song, it speaks of struggles along the way to the new city, which compares to Daisy’s situation as her set goal is to become free.

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