Honors Project - Open Access
This project uses sociolinguistics to theorize the use of African American Vernacular English (AAVE) in literature across three time periods: the Antebellum era, the post-bellum/Reconstruction era, and the Harlem Renaissance. Different dialects of English encode different power structures, and in order to interrogate those power structures I track how white and black authors represent the language of African American characters on the page and how audiences interpret that language. I find that African American authors tend to embrace the variability and diversity of natural language better than their white counterparts, whose use of literary dialect often falls into essentialist clichés.
Crnkovich, Emily, "Cross Crossings Cautiously: Uses of African American Vernacular English in American Literature" (2017). English Honors Projects. 36.
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