The House Behind the Cedars by Charles W. Chesnutt

991 Words4 Pages
Neither white nor black people want to be poor, hungry, or unfair judgment put on them. However, being born with the blood of their parents, they have to live under different circumstances. Their lives are comfortable or struggled that depends on the kind of blood their parents give them. Especially, the mulattos who have mixed blood of white and black have more difficulties in life because of having multiple cultures. Indeed, the novel “the House Behind the Cedars” of Charles W. Chesnutt main message about race relation is that mulattos struggle dramatically in racial society of white, black, and mulatto their own kind people.

The author distinguishes white people as privileged and respectful compare to mulattos and blacks. In the racial society, white people have the right to get any high-class position in job or live any places. In the story, all white characters are noble such as Judge Straight lawyer, Doctor Green, business-man George, and former slaveholder Mrs. Tryon. Moreover, the author also states the racial distinction of whites on mulattos. For example, when Dr. Green talks to Tryon, “‘The niggers,’…, ‘are getting mighty trifling since they’ve been freed. Before the war, that boy would have been around there and back before you could say Jack Robinson; now, the lazy rascal takes his time just like a white man.’ ” (73) Additionally, in the old society, most white people often disdained and looked down on mulattos. Even though there were some whites respected colored people friendly, there were no way for colored people to stand parallel with whites’ high class positions. The story has demonstrations that Judge Straight accepted John as his assistant, Mrs. Tryon honor interviewed Rena, and George finally changed and decided to marry Rena; however, the discrimination is inevitable. For example, when Mrs. Tryon heard Rena was colored, she was disappointed. “The lady, who had been studying her as closely as good manners would permit, sighed regretfully.” (161) There, Mrs. Tryon might have a good plan for Rena, but the racial society would not accept; since Rena was a mulatto, Mrs. Tryon could not do anything to help Rena in white social life. The racial circumstance does not only apply on mulattos, but it also expresses the suffering of black people.

In the story, black people crave for liberty and fairness so they can have equal love with other colored people, but they do not have the power to confess it even with mulattos.

More about The House Behind the Cedars by Charles W. Chesnutt

Open Document