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Local Color Literature Building Background for Their Eyes Were Watching God
Local Color Literature • Brief Overview: • Focuses on the characters, dialect, customs, and other features particular to a specific region. • 1865-1895 • Zora Neale Hurston wrote There Eyes Were Watching God during the Harlem Renaissance (Published in 1937). Although it does depict some aspects of this period, her work most accurately captures the essence of Local Color literature.
Southern Historical Context • The Confederacy made up the South. • Pro-slavery • After Lincoln won the election of 1860, South Carolina immediately seceded from the Union. As a result, 11 states formed the confederacy. • Southern economy based on agriculture. • Refusal to let go of old ideas and practices led to the end of the Civil War in 1865
Culture • Character: Often represents the overall character of the culture. • Plot:Often focuses on daily routines in order to focus on the socio-economic class distinction and differences in gender roles. • Story revolves around nostalgia and sentimentality of the region.
Minorities • Gender- Male or Female • Race- physically based differences (appearance). • Ethnicity-people who share the same country, history, language.
Dialect • A way of speaking by definable groups of people from a particular geographic region, economic group, or social class. • Dialect is a local form of language that may differ from the standard in pronunciation, tone, pitch, grammar, or vocabulary. • Used to portray genuineness and authenticity of the region. • Often shows a separation of class.
Word Play • Colorfullexpressions you will not find in a dictionary that are representative of a particular community.
Try this… • Translate: • “Could yehlemme have uh pound uh knuckle puddin’ till Saturday”
Say it first.. • Step 1: Can you let me have a pound of knuckle pudding until this Saturday • Yehlemme = you let me
Look into new expressions • Word play: • A pound of knuckle pudding= to give someone a beating
Their Eyes Were Watching God • Dialect: Seen in novel when characters are speaking to one another. Directions: Listen to the phonetic sounds while reading chapter one aloud in class. Write down any examples of dialect you hear that represent the Southern community.