Language

The language used by W. E. B. Du Bois in the short story “On Being Crazy” is simple and easy to understand.

The dialogue reflects the social inequality of the time when black people were denied basic rights and services because of their skin color. When the narrator engages in conversations with different white people, he is always calm and polite, using words like “sir” (p. 1, l. 6) and expressions like “beg pardon” (p. 1, l. 9). In their turn, the white people express their outrage and aggression. For example, the hotel clerk aggressively asks the narrator “What do you want?” (p. 2, l. 9), and rudely tells him “We don’t keep niggers” (p. 2, l. 16). 

On the same note, the white traveler’s non-standard grammar suggests that he is a low-class individual with no education: “Niggers is too ignorant to vote” (p. 3,...

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