Alice Walker's short fictional story, "Nineteen Fifty-five", revolves around the encounters among Gracie Mae Still, the narrator, and Traynor, the "Emperor of Rock and Roll." Traynor as a young prospective singer purchases a song from Mrs. Still, which becomes his "first hit record" and makes him rich and famous. Yet, he does not "even understand" the song and spends his entire life trying to figure out "what the song means." The song he sings seems as fictional as certain events in this story, but as historical as Traynor's based character, Elvis Presley.
On one hand, the narrator chronologically describes historic events, which occurred during Elvis's life. Starting in 1955 when Traynor, just like Elvis, at age sixteen, started his career as a singer. Moreover, the narrator describes Traynor similarly to the way Elvis looked as a young boy, "about five feet nine, sort of womanish looking, with real dark and white skin and a red pouting mouth" with "black and curly" hair. Also they both appeared to look "like a Loosianna creole" and from south Louisiana. In the south, equally to Traynor, Elvis grew up around African people where he "learned to sing and dance." One year later in 1956 Traynor, performs on "channel 5" and like Elvis starting getting high around this time "looking half asleep from the neck up, but kind of awake in a nasty way from the waist down." Furthermore, when Elvis performed he would do the same "nasty little jerk" Traynor did, which fans screeched and screamed over.
During 1957, the narrator points out that Traynor gave her a Cadillac in appreciation for selling him her song. Elvis did not give a Cadillac specifically t...
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...e copied it "exactly" like he copied "someone else's record" he still did not have "a clue what marriage meant."
The narrator later points out that there "couldn't be nothing worse than being famous the world over for something you don't even understand." Indeed, when on the Carson show Traynor says to Mrs. Still that his fans been squealing for yrs and they don't know what they squealing about, which made "no more sense than hogs." At the show, after the real person behind the song, Mrs. Still sang, the audience clapped "politely for about two seconds." Then once Traynor sand the "imitation" of the song the fans went wild and starting squealing. The fans seem to only cheer for something that is fake, just like when they "was crying and crying and didn't even know what they was crying for." Thus, explains why "one day this is going to be a pitiful country."
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