He Said, She Said: An Exploration of the Use of Accents, Dialects, and Languages Throughout American Realist Novels

Date
2019
Authors
VanBuskirk, Autumn
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Office of the Vice President for Research
Abstract

One of American Realism’s defining characteristics lies in the authors’ ability to realistically mimic an accent, dialect, or language of a person or group of people. Through the capture of the spoken word, authors use this unique style of writing to create a specialized persona for a character. Accents and dialects (or the lack of) allow the author to shape the readers’ perspective of a character by distinguishing their class, region, race, gender and/or their intellect for political, social, or personal gain. The integration of different languages into a text validates and/or complicates a country’s language and culture since it forces the reader to have an understanding of the language to completely read the text.

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