Charles Chesnutt’s The Passing of Grandison

Read on its own it is a delightful, intriguing story with a twist at the end that leaves one pleasantly surprised. However, if one knew the background behind the story, the suspense would be much stronger. If one knew that Chesnutt was a member of the NAACP, that he had tried to write in order to bring about positive change in the society and fight against racism, when you see the words flowing from the mouths of both slaves and masters in the story, one will more easily detect the sarcasm dripping from every letter like thick strands of green slime. When Grandison returns with his outlandish tale of escape from the brutal hands of the abolitionist, one’s suspicions will be aroused, and when the final act plays out, one will read it with appreciation for what the author was trying to do, and not sit there wondering “where did that come from”.

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