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The House Behind the Cedars
by Charles W. Chesnutt


Overview -
Classics for Your Collection:
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Synopsis:
The story occurs in the southern American states of North and South Carolina a few years following the American Civil War.
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More About The House Behind the Cedars by Charles W. Chesnutt
 
 
 
Overview

Classics for Your Collection:
goo.gl/U80LCr
---------
Synopsis:
The story occurs in the southern American states of North and South Carolina a few years following the American Civil War. Rena Walden, a young woman of mixed white and black ancestry, leaves home to join her brother, who has migrated to a new city, where he lives as a white man.
Following her brother's lead, Rena begins living as a white woman. The secret of her identity leads to conflict when she falls in love with a white aristocrat who learns the truth of her heredity. The ensuing drama emphasizes themes of interracial relations and depicted the intricacies of racial identity in the American south.
More Detailed Description
The House Behind the Cedars is the story of a brother and sister, John and Rena, who share the misfortune of being one-eighth African American. Their mother is a "quadroon" who was kept by a wealthy white man, but when he died, his will was flawed, so she and the children got no money.
John's white skin and thirst for knowledge led him to become a highly intelligent young man, and when he was old enough to leave, he set out to make a new life for himself as a lawyer. He acquired a white wife who passed away after bearing a son, who needed a woman from the family to care for him.
John returned home to introduce his newly matured sister into society, partially to help care for his son, but also to bring Rena away from the shame of her heritage. She enjoys the attention she receives and is courted by a handsome and desirable white man.
Disaster strikes when their mother falls ill and Rena returns home to care for her. Twists and tangles in the plot bring the family secret dangerously close to being discovered and all the work of breaking into society tumbling down upon them.
An early masterwork among American literary treatments of miscegenation, the Victorian era was littered with melodramatic plots such as this where secrets and tangled plots came together in a fast-paced and exciting novel
Facts and Trivia
Chesnutt's autobiography informed the novel's themes. Being of predominantly European ancestry, Chesnutt was light-skinned enough to pass as a white man, although he openly identified with his African-American roots. Additionally, his portrayal of interracial romantic relations in The House Behind the Cedars was controversial. Although the novel was critically well received, its controversy contributed to poor financial performance.
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Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781535508148
  • ISBN-10: 1535508140
  • Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Publish Date: July 2016
  • Page Count: 184
  • Dimensions: 9.02 x 5.98 x 0.39 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.56 pounds


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