Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor's Name

Heather Andrade

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Tometro Hopkins

Third Advisor's Name

Carmela McIntire

Date of Defense



The purpose of this research was to examine a classic text - DuBose Heyward's Porgy (1925) - associated with Southern Literature in relation to its connections to the Gullah culture and language. Close critical scrutiny was made of the 1925 text, two early manuscripts, manuscript fragments, revisions, research notes, and other personal papers from Heyward's estate. Access to these papers helped establish his influences and motivations in writing Porgy.

Employing both linguistic and literary analyses, the findings establish the verisimilitude of Heyward's representation of the Gullah language, rhetorical patterns, culture, beliefs, and practices, linking Porgy to a Gullah literary tradition.

Examination of Heyward's life and times reveals why Porgy sits squarely within the early 20th Century literary genre, African American Literary Realism and thematically anticipates the Harlem Renaissance period. Breaking the mold of the "old South" minstrel-syle depictions of black life, Heyward portrayed the Gullah people with integrity and respect.





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