Character and Colloquial Speech

Topics: Character, Linguistics, Protagonist Pages: 1 (268 words) Published: April 7, 2005

Colloquial speech is used by many authors in order to give a sense of realism to their writing. In "Sweat" by Zora Neale Hurston, every character speaks in colloquial speech. This style of writing gives the reader a real sense of the South in a way no other style of writing can. Dialogue is how Hurston gets her point across using colloquial speech in writing her dialogue her dialogue.

When Hurston uses colloquial speech in the story, she characterizes people who are poor black citizens in the South. The colloquial speech used is taken from Hurston's own experiences growing up and, in doing so, helps Hurston use it more effectively. The main characters are poor blacks who live in the southern part of the country.

Also, the use of this writing element portrays the characters as uneducated and having very few morals. The main character, Delia, is beaten and harassed by her husband Sykes. The colloquial speech makes Sykes seem like a much worse person, "Yo sho is one aggravatin' nigger woman!" (761). Sykes is committing adultery with a woman named Bertha. Sykes doesn't respect women, he says things like, "Gawd! how Ah hates skinny wimmen!"(762) and in doing so, Hurston gives the reader the idea that he has no morals.

Hurston uses the literary technique of colloquial speech to give her characters a sense of realism that could not be conveyed any other way. In giving Sykes and Delia the dialect of a black person in that time and location, Hurston, gives the characters the qualities of being uneducated and poor.
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