Chesnutt writes of the black search for identity in the period between the Civil War and the turn of the century...
|Title||:||The Wife of His Youth and Other Stories|
|Number of Pages||:||336 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
The Wife of His Youth and Other Stories Reviews
A fascinating book by a fascinating author. Born in 1858, Charles Chesnutt was born to two "free persons of color," and apparently had at least one grandparent who was a white slave owner. He wrote about the lives of the African-Americans of his time, the newly free and the free born, struggling to find a place in the world. The title story tells of a man who has established a place among the Blue Veins, a society whose purpose "was to establish and maintain correct social standards among a people whose social condition presented almost unlimited room for improvement. By accident, combined perhaps with some natural affinity, the society consisted of individuals who were, generally speaking, more white than black." The story is both a morality tale about loyalty, and a satire of the pretensions of middle-class African-American society. Something that Chesnutt knew much about; he was a lawyer, owned a prosperous stenography business, and spent his life as a writer, an essayist and a political activist.The stories in this collection vary; some (like much of the literature of the time) are way too sentimental for our tastes, and some of the characters speak in a dialect that wouldn't be acceptable in today's literature. However, the book is definitely worth reading. It ends forcefully, with the tale of a prosperous blacksmith who is accused, arrested, and wrongfully convicted of stealing a white man's whip; he is sent away for five year's hard labor, during which time his children are lost to the despair of poverty and his wife finds another man (the one whom, we are led to believe, actually stole the whip), and finally, ragged and bitter, sets out to kill the owner of the whip, whom he sees as the author of his ruined life.A fascinating glimpse of a portion of American society that was seldom written about, from a man who lived it.
These stories focus on the issue of "passing"--African Americans who look white and could pass for white. Mostly Chesnutt puts them in ethical situations where they need to decide how important loyalty to their race is. This is a key issue for Chesnutt, who also could have passed for white, but chose not to.
Only "Her Virginia Mammy"
This book consists of 9 short stories. I used "The Bouquet" as a major reference in a paper I wrote about the progression of students to teachers in the post-Civil War South. Here is a short exerpt: Chesnutt’s writing embodies the transition of the student becoming the teacher in his short story The Bouquet. Mrs. Myrover, as an invalid, represents old regime—physically paralyzed but still alive / present. She (and the pre-Civil war South) “were “too old, and had suffered too deeply from war, in body and mind and estate, ever to reconcile herself to the changed order of things following the return of peace; and, with an unsound yet perfectly explainable logic, she visited some of her displeasure upon those who had profited most, though passively, by her losses” (Chesnutt 281). Though not monetarily, blacks could now receive an invaluable profit—an education. The receipt of this education was not free and “was not Northern charity, for the total cost of the Bureau, seventeen million dollars, was more than covered by a heavy tax on cotton, which by 1869 had yielded over sixty-eight million dollars” (Morison 18-20). Therefore, the Negros had prepaid for their education with their work in, and any job related to cotton, which would encompass almost the entire South. To read my paper in its entirety, please visit: http://www.writerrhiannon.blogspot.co...
Although you come to look for the irony that Chesnutt uses masterfully, he still finds a way to surprise me in every one of these delightful short stories. An important literary figure of American Literature that examines the color line in the US post-reconstruction. Highly recommend as an important piece of the story in understanding the African American experience.
The Wife of His Youth is one of my favorite short stories. If you would like to teach your students about integrity, you won't go wrong with this one (also a post-reconstruction history lesson in there). Five stars for voice, as well. The other short stories in this book weren't as good, so no rating for those.
Only read the titular story and "Her Virgina Mammy" for a class assignment, but I would gladly read the rest of the book. Chesnutt is a great realistic writer that truly walks the "color line" with delicious ambiguity.
loved this short story c: it was very cute but also a great example of a realistic text
Excellent short stories concerning race issues immediately after the civil war. My high school students loved it.
Learn you can not hide from your past. Enjoyed Chesnutt's books and this was the first of many.