Alice Walker

  1) What fundamental human experience is being dealt with in this story?

The fundamental human experience that is being dealt with in the story “1955” is that Traynor could or would attain happiness through means of material possession and the accumulation of wealth. We see this idea develop throughout the story. In 1956 we find out that the song purchased from Gracie Mae Still for a mere $500.00 is now being performed on national television. “Little mama, little mama, there’s a white man on television singing one of your songs! Turn on channel 5. Lord, if it wasn’t Traynor” (Walker479). Traynor later returns to Gracie Mae and the first thing she notices is that “Traynor seemed to be aging by the minute” (480). Walker then proceeds to further describe Traynor’s exhaustion at the Mae house by detailing his posture. “His head was pitched forward over his lap, his hands holding his glass and his elbows on his knees” (480). The description of how tired and unhealthy Traynor seems is immediately followed by Traynor telling Gracie Mae how much money he is accumulating off of her song. “I’ve sung it and sung it, and I’m making forty thousand a day offa it, and you know what, I don’t have the faintest notion what that song means” (480). Traynors condition worsens as time goes on and as he becomes wealthier. Like Traynor is regressing in life, rather than progressing. Which one could find odd being that Traynor is surrounded by so much success and wealth. This regression is further substantiated in Gracie Mae’s description of Traynor on one of his later visits. “I had been mad, but suddenly I calmed down. Traynor was talking very dreamily. It was dark but seems I could tell his eye’s weren’t right. It was like something was sitting there talking to me but not necessarily with a person behind it” (483). Traynors character consistently degenerates as his wealth accumulates. Not once to appear happy or satisfied. He even admits to hardly knowing his...