Push (Precious)


Critics have gone in both directions as far as their opinions of the style in which Push is written. Some consider "the harrowing storyline [to be] exaggerated," saying that it doesn't seem realistic to "saddle one fictional character with so many problems straight from today's headlines" (Glenn). Others have stated that while the dialect is problematic, Precious herself is believable because she "speaks in a darting stream of consciousness of her days in an unexpectedly evocative fashion" (Mahoney).


Precious begins the novel functionally illiterate. She spells words phonetically. She uses a "minimal English that defies the conventions of spelling and usage and dispenses all verbal decorum" (Mahoney). She employs words such as "nuffin'" for nothing, "git" for get, "borned" for born, "wif" for with, and "chile" for child. She also uses an array of profanity and harsh details that reflect the life she has experienced. Michiko Kakutani, a book reviewer for The New York Times, claims that Precious' "voice conjures up [her] gritty unforgiving world."

As the book progresses and Precious learns to read and write, there is a stark change in her voice, though the dialect remains the same.

Last week we went to the museum. A whole whale is hanging from the ceiling. Bigger than big! OK, have you seen a Volkswagen car that's like a bug? Um huh, you know what I'm talking about. That's how big the heart of a blue whale is. I know it's not possible, but if that heart in me could I love more? Ms Rain, Rita, Abdul?" (Push, p. 138).

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