Theory Of Charles Chesnutt’S Technique In “The Wife Of
1234 WordsApr 24, 20175 Pages
Theory of Charles Chesnutt’s Technique in “The Wife of His Youth”
From the time they arrived on slave ships, continuing for centuries, African American’s were at the mercy of white men in America. They had little to no control over their own lives, and they had no voice to communicate their agony. Despite the fact that slavery ceased, the lives of black men, women, and children improved very little. Writing was one of the very few ways that African American’s could release the frustrations of their maltreatment. When their writings were finally published, their voices broke ground and boldly crossed racial lines. One of the first African American’s to accomplish this courageous feat was Charles Chesnutt. Although Chesnutt 's…show more content…
Although whites undeniably made life very difficult for African Americans, Chesnutt knew that placing blame would be ineffective, and forceful or authoritative techniques would miss the mark. For this reason, “Chesnutt skillfully and subtly... wove a delicate pattern of racism and the inhumanity of slavery through his stories,” avoiding the commonly stereotypical battle between the heartless master and the rebellious slave, “[Chesnutt] captured the true injustice” (Wintz, “Black Culture” 56). His technique was deliberate yet gentle, compelling but subtle.
Chesnutt did not place blame on the whites outright, but strategically acknowledged the problem within his own race. Wintz, also the author of “Race and Realism in the fiction of Charles W. Chesnutt,” acknowledges that among black culture, there were "emotional and highly explosive subjects of racism...racial distinction and prejudice within the black community itself" (“Race and Realism” 126). And Chesnutt skillfully utilizes the unfortunate conflict as a tool to deliver his message. Instead of writing directly of the injustices blacks endured under the hands of white men, he writes from the critical view of racism among blacks, pitting light-skinned blacks against dark-skinned to gain sympathy, while avoiding a defensive response from the white audience.
In “The Wife of His Youth,” Chesnutt writes of a ‘prestigious’ Blue