What it Means to be Black and Free in Charles Chestnutt’s The Wife of His Youth

Decent Essays

During Unit Two of our class discussions, we as a class pondered on the means of what is really is to be black and free. We also studied the characteristics and aims of writing during this period of Reconstruction of the New Negro Renaissance Era. When you think about what it really means to be black and free, consideration should be based on the history, background, the black experience, and the challenges of the struggles that Africans and African Americans faced to be what we are today. It is also important that we recognize the aims and characteristics that helped shaped black history and gave attention to certain rights of women and men. One short story in particular that really interested me was Charles Chestnutt’s “The Wife of His Youth” (pg. 624). This short story was published in 1988 and displays some interesting ironies that contradict what is believed and what is really reality. Based on the biography of Charles Chestnutt, it is most likely that the reflection of this story came from his genealogy of a mixed race. In this short story, a free slave, Sam Taylor, who ended up being a slave again has some relation to a slave woman of darker color and has a reality check based on his past dwelling on his present. He unofficially marries Liza Jane, the slave woman of darker color, and makes an agreement to come back for her after being told to run away. After 25 years, he joined the Blue Vein Society and established a lifestyle that he never had as a slave. He is

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