The Rise and Fall of A Celebrity in Alice Walker’s Nineteen Fifty-Five

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In Alice Walker’s story Nineteen Fifty-Five there are numerous characters in which the reader encounters however the main two you will see is Gracie Mae Still and Traynor. This story is spoken by Gracie Mae but it depicts Traynor’s life in an indirect way. In looking at the story from a modern view this can be compared to the rise and fall of a celebrity as well as well-known celebrities today and their issues that can described using this story. Whether Alice Walker portrayed Traynor as Elvis is unclear to most, there is a very strong connection. Elvis Presley’s music career started in 1955 and gained fast momentum in 1956 making him an international sensation. This would coincide with the “nasty little jerk” that Gracie was viewing on…show more content…
Throughout the story it is also evident that Traynor sends letters as well as extravagant gifts to Gracie Mae. It has been known that Elvis gave gifts of houses and cars to numerous people that he knew as well. In going deeper into the story it can be seen that Traynor doesn’t have a very stable foundation and that he is also attempting to discover the meaning of Gracie Mae’s song but hasn’t learned anything. And then it’s learned that Traynor had married and divorced 14 women and was currently married to his 15th. There is no exact explanation given for the numerous marriages and divorces but from my perspective the women all may have had some type of trait that Traynor temporarily wanted and as time went on he fell out of love because they were not what he had really desired. The connection he has with Gracie Mae has survived a couple of decades and she may be exactly what he wants in a woman but can’t find that in anyone else. In Gracie Mae’s dream Traynor says, “You marry ‘em for no reason” but there was a reason, one he may not have comprehended. And in a brief portion of the story we see a letter delivered to Gracie Mae about Traynor joing the army and still thinking about the song. Presley joined the army as well around the same time Traynor did as depicted in the story. The story ultimately ends upon the news of Traynor’s death and the speculation that alcohol or drugs may have been the

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