Can Dessa Rose be considered a representational work or a stereotypical work?

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belarafon | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Dessa Rose would be considered a representational work, since it avoids deliberate stereotyping except to make a point or to showcase the brutality of the slave culture. Although stereotypical characters and situations exist in the book, the events are based on true stories and so seek to show how these characters and situations could happen in a realistic manner. For example, the slave revolt is typical of actual events, and the interpretation of it by whites in the book shows their prejudice, but the actual event is representational of how these events could take place in real life.

The language in the book is also stereotypical, but since many records exist from the time to show language use, this is an acceptable stereotype in the service of realism. While some might point to the overuse of certain racial slurs, these were all common and considered acceptable in the time; the stereotype does not infringe on the representation of reality.

 

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