Use of Vernacular Dialect in “Barraccoon”

Zora Neale Hurstom’s “Barraccoon: The Last of the African Cargo,” the story of Cudjo Lewis is told through his own words.  Cudjo was believed to be the last African to be brought to the United States as a slave.  Hurston began interviewing Cudjo in 1927.  The book was never published due to the vernacular dialect it uses.  Publishers wouldn’t except it.  Hurston has used this approach in works such as “Their Eyes Were Watching god.”  I remember reading TEWWG as a freshman in High School and disliking the use of vernacular in the book.  It made for a rigid, difficult read.  However, I did not have the knowledge and understanding that I do now, and believe that the use of vernacular is an authentic approach to story telling.  It makes for more rewarding read, as it brings you closer to the story tellers and gives you an opportunity to learn from the dialect itself.

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