Analysis Of Charles Chesnutt 's ' The Goophered Grapevine ' Essay

826 Words Apr 21st, 2016 4 Pages
Charles Chesnutt was not only a seminal African American writer, but also “the first African American fiction writer to be taken seriously in the white press” (Norton, 699). Chesnutt’s oeuvre is notable for addressing “the psychological and historical implications of racial thinking” (698) and for “questioning the very concept of ‘race’” (699). Chesnutt himself was light-skinned enough to be white-passing, but was in no way secretive about his race. Nevertheless, his public declaration shocked many white readers. [[connecting sentence]] [[In his short story, “The Goophered Grapevine,” Chesnutt demonstrates his views of racial equality through the clever subversion of regionalist tropes in his characters.]]
The story begins with the unnamed Northern Buyer’s explanation of motives for moving to North Carolina; his wife, Annie, is sick and their “family doctor, in whose skill and honesty [he has] implicit confidence, advised a change of climate” (Chesnutt, 699). One of the first things readers notice about this character is the quality of his speech – the Northern Buyer is remarkably articulate. It is also worth noting, that the Northern Buyer isn’t given a definitive race, making him just as likely to be black as to be white. Typically, readers of the period would expect to be able to discern the race of a character by the dialect of their speech, but the Northern Buyer is a subversion of this trope in that he is a very articulate character and narrator being written by…

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