Thursday, June 17, 2010

On "The Goophered Grapevine" by Charles W. Chesnutt (4710 words) ****

This first tale in The Conjure Woman introduces readers to the general structure of all of the stories to follow and also introduces us to Chesnutt's main characters: Julias McAdoo, the former slave; and his Yankee employers, the frame story narrator husband and his wife Annie. Here, the narrator is considering whether to buy property down south when he runs into McAdoo while inspecting some land. McAdoo's tale of a bewitched grapevine intends to discourage the man from buying the property, in part one comes to believe because McAdoo would no longer be able to benefit from the land's scuppernongs himself. Nevertheless, although the land is purchased anyway, in true form, McAdoo comes out all right, given his storytelling prowess. Read the story here.

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