The Drinking Gourd Analysis

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power” (Carter 28). Walter thus turns his back on White racist tradition boldly standing up to them. He has his traditions, race, pride and family behind him to carry on the struggle.
The language used in The Drinking Gourd, a play set in the antebellum south also makes an interesting study. The play is set at a time when the African Americans were not allowed to read and write. The slaves came from different parts of Africa and from different cultures speaking different languages. Hence, in order to communicate they had to imitate their masters and create a kind of English that they could all understand. That language came to be conditioned by their African culture and American experience. It had many more words than the plantation vocabulary. It was enriched by ambiguity, poetry, simplicity, variety and realism. It had a beautiful rhythmic flow. African American English was in the making.
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Sarah tells Hannibal at the beginning “you better hush your mouth for sure now, boy. Trees on this plantation got more ears than leaves!” (233). Rissa in The Drinking Gourd is portrayed as a African American mammy who owes absolute allegiance to the white household. Initially she feels that it is her duty to obey the master. She cares for her master and does all that she can to make his life longer and happier. She acquiesces in the fact that slaves should not read and write. Like Mama in A Raisin in the Sun, she believes in God and his grace. She is conscious of what is right but the change in Rissa from the traditional mammy of the myth to the rebellious mother occurs when her son Hannibal is blinded by Hiram’s son Everett. Though she knows that her master has been all along a good man and a kind one, she is not able to forgive him. Like Lena Younger, she too becomes an emotional mother fiercely protective of her own flesh and blood. Hiram tries to ask her for his forgiveness and points out that he had nothing to do with
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