Does the contrast between the dialects in "Sweat" undermine the author's attempt to present portrayals of African-Americans?  

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In Zora Neal Hurston's "Sweat," many of the black, working-class characters in the story speak in a rural, southern African American Vernacular Englishdialect . The use of this dialect between the characters is incredibly important to uphold the authenticity of the characters and the time and place...

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In Zora Neal Hurston's "Sweat," many of the black, working-class characters in the story speak in a rural, southern African American Vernacular English dialect. The use of this dialect between the characters is incredibly important to uphold the authenticity of the characters and the time and place in which the short story is set. Zora Neal Hurston does not use the same deep southern AAVE when narrating the story that she has the characters use in their dialogue with each other. This contrast does not undermine the story at all in its portrayal of black conversation, as black folks all over the country have different ways of speaking, as individuals and as communities rooted in specific experiences and cultural ties.

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The dialect spoken in "Sweat" is undoubtedly authentic as well as intentional, reminiscent of oral folktales Zora Neale Hurston heard as a child growing up in Eastonville, Florida, a township similar in many ways to the town in which the action is set. The characters in the story are black and working class, and are unlikely to have been well-educated due to a lack of available opportunities for African Americans in the rural south. The characters' casual dialect is a natural companion to the story's setting and events, and the proper grammar and diction of the narration ensure that the story is timeless. Casual language evolves more quickly than formal language, which Hurston undoubtedly knew, and her seamless fusion of the two dialects ensures that "Sweat" accurately depicts the rural south in the early 1900s while still remaining relevant to readers almost one hundred years later.

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No, absolutely not. The dialect that Hurston uses is authentic.  It only enhances the story.  The language helps to reveal the true natures of the characters.  Imagine if the characters spoke very proper English.  This would not be true to their character, background, upbringing, which would be a tragedy.  The protagonist is such a complex, rich character and to use any dialect other than her own would be a disservice to her and the story in general:

The dialect itself, aside from portraying the authentic speech patterns of Eatonville, allows Hurston to take ownership of the language. Like Delia, who assumes power through the story by shouting back at Sykes and insulting him, the author gains her own autonomy over the meaning of the text by putting it into the rhythm of her community’s speech pattern.
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