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Examine the portrayal of the black community in Stamps- Arkansas. In what ways does it present life as being positive or negative and how is this reflected in the language?

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Introduction

Examin the portrayal of the black community in Stamps- Arkansas. In what ways does it present life as being positive or negative and how is this reflected in the language? The community of Stamps have a very negative life, as there is segregation and discrimination against them, meaning that they can never earn enough money to support their families and so end up heavily in debt. They do still look at their way of life positively, and start each day as it comes- not looking to the future or the past. An example of this is the cotton pickers, who spend long hours out in the field, for low wages, but try to pick as much as possible to get them through the long winter, inevitably though, they end up having to borrow money and taking credit from stores like momma's. Even though they are in debt and can never earn enough to last them through the year, they still have hope and always try as hard as possible to excel themselves and get do at least a good day's work. ...read more.

Middle

He also expresses pride for his niece and nephew, so that the two visitors go back to their home city with a picture of a whole uncle Willie and his angelic nephew and niece who he was caring for. The people of Stamps also show pride for themselves as they wash everyday and have a regular routine of the things that they have to do each day. Where as this white poor people, or 'po- - ', as they are called in the book, don't have this pride as they are unhappy and always look at the richer people to envy them, instead of looking at themselves to improve their lives. The po- - don't wash for several days at a time, and for fun they throw insults at, or mock momma who has done nothing to them, but endures it still. This shows the black community as superior to them white one as they work together and stick up for each other instead of envying those less fortunate than themselves. ...read more.

Conclusion

The positive and negative aspects of the black community in Stamps are reflected in the language as the cotton picker's words never reflect how bad their lives really are but reflect the hope of what they want to become, or to pick as much cotton as possible so that they can feed their family through the winter. Also, in the first chapter, Maya is thinking of how good she will look in the silk dress, and, as she thinks of 'good' as 'white', she links her looks or appearance with white girls. She sees herself as 'one of those cute little white girls who were everybody's dream of what was right with the world,' and so thinks of whites as good and so try's to compare herself with them. So, throughout the book and first five chapters, the language reflects how the character, or people, feels. This is shown with the cotton pickers who express hope to achieve to provide for their families, for Maya at the start to be a white girl or be as good as one, and it shows momma's pride in herself and her store, family and life. ...read more.

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