College Essay Examples

Nineteen Fifty-five Walker’s Story

Question #1 

Walker presents his story from the perspective of Grace Mae, who rises to fame and fortune when Traynor boosts her singing career. Traynor, a young white man, spoils Gracie Mae with a lavish house, white Cadillac, and other fancy accessories to make her look the part. Their interaction advances the role that music plays in the face of racism. More importantly, the contribution that black music had and the strange transformation that the whites gave it. Therefore, the material aspects of houses and cars are used to advance the theme of superiority that the whites enjoyed over the blacks. Similarly, Walker figuratively uses them to show their use by whites in making blacks submit to their vested interests. 

Traynor life’s foundation was heavily shaken, and he thought he could ease it by spending on Gracie Mae, who was much stable, wise, famous, and loved. He even finds no meaning and sense in singing Mae’s music, yet it brought fortune to him: “I’ve sung it and sung it, and I’m making forty thousand dollars a day off it, and you know what, I don’t have the faintest notion what that song means” (Walker, 1981, p.g.41). The lavish gifts from Traynor only reveal a character who was broken from inside. He was constantly looking for fulfillment but seemed only to end up empty.

 Question #2 

Bessie Smith had admired Gracie Mae’s songs and wanted to perform them. The flashback is a foreboding of what would have come of Bessie in the event that Gracie would have caved into her appeal. Unfortunately, the outcome would have been the same as the one Traynor was experiencing currently. This reflection also reveals to us the sad life that Gracie was experiencing, captioned by the song’s title, “No need to grieve.”  Hence, she was loving, wise, and integral enough to prevent her friend from singing that song since it would only breed grieve and sadness in her life. 


Walker, A. (1981). Alice Walker reading nineteen fifty-five.


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By Hanna Robinson

Hanna has won numerous writing awards. She specializes in academic writing, copywriting, business plans and resumes. After graduating from the Comosun College's journalism program, she went on to work at community newspapers throughout Atlantic Canada, before embarking on her freelancing journey.

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