Language

Style of language

The language of “Sweetness” by Toni Morrison is generally simple and easy to follow, resembling the monologue of someone in front of a listener. The simple language also conveys the character’s background and characterization by including idioms such as: “welfare clerks are mean as spit”, “made me proud as a peacock”, “I slammed the lid”, etc.

The colloquial nature of the text is also suggested by informal words and interjections: “Oh, yeah, I feel bad sometimes about how I treated Lula Ann…”.

The use of the words “Negro” and “pickaninny”, which are considered offensive today, helps suggests that the main character grew up facing discrimination against African Americans. 

The text is conveyed in the narrative mode, without any direct dialogue, although parts from a letter are cited directly: “ ‘Guess what, S. I am so, so happy to pass along this news. I am going to have a baby. I’m too, too thrilled and hope you are, too.’ ”.

Imagery and choice of words

Imagery is the use of descriptive passage and words to create mental images for readers that help them picture the characters and the action. Most imagery in the ...

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