Black Dialect In Charles Chesnutt's The Wife Of His Youth

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The use of black dialect in literature is a technique that has been debated for hundreds of years. It was used in trickster folktales such as, "Deer Hunting Story" and "The Wonderful Tar Baby Story." The debate on whether this dialect elevates everyday black speech or causes a negative stereotype to emerge is pretty even. With no doubt, dialect can help show the character's personality, intentions, and emotions. It also further insinuates the role they play within stories. Paul Laurence Dunbar's "A Negro Love Song" is almost entirely in black dialect. On the other hand, Charles Chesnutt's "The Wife of His Youth" tells a story with some dialect being used. By examining these differences, the lack of dialect and dialect actually being used in "The Wife of His Youth" best exemplifies the negative stereotypes that are being avoided when discussing the protagonist, Mr. Ryder who is seen as a blue vein and Liza Jane.

When reading Charles Chesnutt's story the audience starts to question what is a white man and a black man? For year's the requirements of a white man have steadily changed. In this story, "Mr. Ryder might aptly be called the dean of the Blue Veins" (602). The Blue Veins were an organization where men were considered to be more white than black. We further catch on to the narrator being critical of the blue veins as they think they are better than the rest of the black community. Mr Ryder in particular was "...economical...his residence was handsomely furnished..."

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