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Word Count: 998
In The White Boy Shuffle by Paul Beatty the main character Gunnar Kaufman constantly changes his dialect in an attempt to blend in with his surroundings For instance while living in the predominately white neighborhood of Santa Monica Gunnar speaks improper English with a major emphasis on extending words in order to be accepted by his friends Yet when he moves to the ghetto community of Hillside he uses colloquial speech in a vain and misplaced attempt to fit the black communitys perception of him Despite gaining the black and white communities acceptance through different styles of verbal communication each time Gunnar must give up a part of himself to be liked As a result Gunnars attempts at being either an all-American white boy from the west coast or a dangerous black gang member from the ghetto eventually fail The reason being he cant be one with out the other because hes a combination of the two By acting solely as a black or white boy he neglects his other side when trying to fit in with white folks he ignores his blackness and when around black people he disregards the language and behaviors learned from his white upbringing the things learned from growing up with white people Thus as Gunnar moves from East to West Los Angeles the failures of his language adaptation depending on his social context expose his attempts at being something hes not in an effort to be accepted Gunnar must always give up or cover a certain side of himself A good illustration of Gunnars grammatically incorrect English is noticeable through his communication with friends White Gunnarwould say things like no waaaay duuuude tuuuubular biiiitchin to the max and tooootally fucking raaaad Hed spend his days ridding the waves in the scorechering California sun sniffing glue from model airplanes and listening to rock and roll He would sign letters with statements like be cool xoxo and shalom
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