Afro-American Language Analysis

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Finally, Janie manages to break out of traditional concept in which woman who does what she is commanded and speaks when she is told to speak. At the end of chapter six she finally speaks her mind to Joe and says, “Sometimes God gits familiar wid us women folks to and talks His inside business. He told me how surprised He was…and how surprised y’all is goin’ tuh be if you ever find out you don’t know half as much ‘bout us as you think you do. It’s so easy to make yo’self out God Almighty when you aint’ got nothin’ tuh strain against but women and chickens” (75). This was the first time when Janie talked back to Joe. She tells him about her feelings and explains him that God equally speaks to both men and women. With her statement she is…show more content…
Because of their struggle for survival, Afro-American people developed strategies, which led to a significant linguistic development: the combination of “aspects of English grammar with distinctive physical gestures, semantics, syntax, pitch and rhythm (idem). As a survival strategy to cope with the demands of the dominant culture, Afro-American language has two forms. First one is formal speech behaviour that involves the use of standard English, and second one is everyday speech with non-standard English. As Du Bois pointed out: “The Negro is a sort of seventh son, born with a veil, and gifted with second-sight in this American world, - a world which yields him no true self-consciousness, but only lets him see himself through the revelation of other world. It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one 's self through the eyes of others...one ever feels his twoness. “ . This “double consciousness” of Afro Americans is also reflected in the issue of language. The double-voiced discourse in Their Eyes is manifested in its form and structure. The novel is a frame story where the narrator tells the story, which Janie tells Pheoby. The narrator distances of the characters allowing Janie to tell her own story. It might seem that the story is…show more content…
In addition, the opening passages of the novel shows the difference in the “literate narrators voice and highly idiomatic black voice”(idem). The story begins with metaphor of sexual differences: men live for dreams, which are symbolized by distant ships that can “sail forever on the horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the Watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by
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