The Gold Cadillac Analysis

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Through the eyes of a young girl, an intricate story of an African American family in the 1950’s is told in Mildred D. Taylor’s The Gold Cadillac. Set in Toledo, Ohio, Taylor details the ‘s family’s journey with just a gold Cadillac and a road trip to the southern United States. Along the way, ‘Lois’ childlike innocence takes a hit once the realities of racism become part of her world. The realistic fiction transitional book utilizes key elements of fiction to tell an important story for children’s literature. The Gold Cadillac specifically employs a strong plot, detailed characterization, and historical context to support the theme of racism and the importance of familial strength. As The Gold Cadillac exemplifies, for children, a captivating…show more content…
146). Though the period of time between the book’s beginning and end is not directly specified, the use of phrases like “the next day” and “later that evening” throughout the story help the reader understand that the plot is not occurring over a long period of time. This natural sequence of events set up the main conflict of the story, which piques the reader’s interest and keeps the story flowing. The Gold Cadillac centers on character vs. society; ‘Lois, the protagonist versus the racial prejudice she and her family encounter while in Mississippi. This type of conflict was made more interesting by the fact that it is seen through the perspective of a child. Taylor’s use of ‘Lois first person point of view makes the theme more impactful, as it is told innocently and honestly by a child. This conflict between ‘Lois’ and the racism that permeates society, specifically the law enforcement in Memphis, offers ‘Lois a real world view that stays with her. She states, “I wouldn’t soon forget either the ride we had taken south in it. I wouldn’t soon forget the signs, the policemen, and my fear,” (Taylor, 1987, p. 43). However, this conflict is made less heavy by the fact that ‘Lois has her family by her side,…show more content…
Dialect is defined as, “a variety of a language used by the members of a group” (Merriam-Webster.com, 2018). The use of “black” dialect in the story brings the characters to life, makes them more relatable, and contributes to the theme of racism in a way that other literary devices cannot. Particularly, “The increased use of dialect by black authors, particularly children 's authors, was a sign that the nature of the black experience as they wanted to convey it did not have to rely on traditional forms, and literary devices; that they could treat familiar, realistic ideas and situations using a familiar dialect and relate that idea more effectively” (Wells, 1976, p. 39). From “’Ey, ‘lois! How’s that Cadillac, girl? Riding fine?’” (Taylor, 1987, p.22-23) to “’Daddy say come on out and see this new car!’” (Taylor, 1987, p. 11), the dialect is present and clear without making the dialogue difficult to understand. It is an effective tool that communicates solidarity and familiarity to readers, as well as adds another dimension to the story and characters. Additionally, illustrations are as equally important as the dialogue. Though the illustrations appear infrequently, their placement in the book represents significant moments for and between the characters. On page 38 and 39 of The Gold Cadillac, a double page spread depicts the
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