Essay about The Marrow of Tradition

Essay about The Marrow of Tradition

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As the United States developed and grew, upward mobility was central to the American dream. It was the unstated promise that no matter where you started, you had the chance to grow and proceed beyond your initial starting point. In the years following the Civil War, the promise began to fade. People of all races strived to gain the representation, acknowledgement and place in this society. To their great devastation, this hope quickly dwindled. Social rules were set out by the white folk, and nobody could rise above their social standing unless they were seen fit to be part of the white race. The social group to be impacted the most by this “social rule” was the African Americans. Black folk and those who were sympathetic to the idea of equal rights to blacks were targeted by the Ku Klux Klan. (Burton, 1998) The turning point in North Carolina politics was the Wilmington Race Riot of 1898. It was a very bold and outrageous statement from the white supremacists to the black folk. The Democratic white supremacists illegally seized power from the local government and destroyed the neighborhood by driving out the African Americans and turning it from a black-majority to a white-majority city. (Class Discussion 10/3/13) This event developed the idea that even though an African American could climb a ladder to becoming somebody in his or her city, he or she will never become completely autonomous in this nation. Charles W. Chesnutt discusses the issue of social mobility in his novel The Marrow of Tradition. Olivia Carteret, the wife of a white supremacist is also a half-sister to a Creole woman, Janet Miller. As the plot develops, we are able to see how the social standing of each woman impacts her everyday life, and how each woman is ...


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...nce any degression on the social ladder. However, there will always be those who dictate who and what the society truly is. Just like Chesnutt portrays for us in The Marrow of Tradition, there will always exist a social ladder, upon which we will either rise or drop.







Works Cited

Chesnutt, C. W. (1993). The Marrow of Tradition. New York: Penguin Books.
Burton, O. V. (1998, April). African American Status and Identity in a Postbellum Community: An Analysis of the Manuscript Census Returns. Retrieved December 1, 2013, from
http://www.ideals.illinois.edu/bitstream/handle/2142/2286/file_1.pdf?sequence=1
Williams, A. N. (2006). OUR KIND OF PEOPLE: SOCIAL STATUS AND CLASS AWARENESS IN POST-RECONSTRUCTION AFRICAN AMERICAN FICTION. Retrieved December 1, 2013, from https://cdr.lib.unc.edu/indexablecontent?id=uuid:c9d7fd9d-c5df-4dea-aa22-35820de5878e&ds=DATA_FILE

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