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A Descriptive Analysis of Nigger: The Meaning of a Word by Gloria Naylor

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Length: 1187 words (3.4 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Purple      
Price: $19.95
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A Descriptive Analysis of Nigger: The Meaning of a Word by Gloria Naylor

What is the rhetor’s purpose?

In the essay “Nigger: the meaning of a word” Gloria Naylor discusses the essence of a word and how it can mean different things to different people in a myriad of situations. Depending on race, gender, societal status and age Naylor outlines how a word like ‘nigger’ can have different meanings within one’s own environment. Naylor discusses how a word can go from having a positive to a negative connotation merely due to how it is spoken and by whom. Naylor shares a personal experience with her audience as she describes the first time she really “heard” the word ‘nigger’. A young white boy in her third grade class spit it in her face. Naylor states, “I didn’t know what a nigger was, but I knew that whatever it meant, it was something he shouldn’t have called me.” (Naylor 460)

Naylor writes about her own personal experience and is obviously biased. This, while powerful, can also be seen as a limited view of the subject. Her audience only understands thorough her eyes and her experiences.

Naylor is trying to educate her audience by sharing a personal experience. I think she wants her audience to sit back and think about the words they use and how others may use them and how this can affect others. Naylor wants her audience to understand how she was affected not only by a young boy but also by how she didn’t really think about the word ‘nigger’ until t...

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