41 Matching Annotations
  1. Mar 2018
    1. “The fact is,” she said, pensively, “I couldn’t have eaten any more of that ham, and so I gave it to Julius.”

      Another well-orchestrated, poignant triumph.

    2. En dey sot a heap by one ernudder.

      I have been reading this phrase as "And they sought a heap by one another," which is a really beautiful way of describing two people spending time together.

    3. childish superstitions

      I wonder how and why Western superstitions aren't childish, but non-Western are.

      If it's childish, why are non-Western superstitions still seen to be frightening and dark but not their European counterparts...

      Isn't Annie practicing Western superstitions by her fragile Reconstruction Era spells of hysteria?

    4. “‘Fo’ de Lawd!’ he say, ‘dat mule drunk! he be’n drinkin’ de wine.’ En sho’ ’nuff, de mule had pas’ right by de tub er fraish grape-juice en push’ de kiver off’n de bairl, en drunk two er th’ee gallon er de wine w’at had been stan’in’ long ernough fer ter begin ter git sha’p.

      In his tales, Julius opens up the space for humor and relief in a narrative that is ultimately about inhuman forms of subjugation.

    5. ‘ca’se de beastisses doan none un ’em eat terbacker. Dey doan know w’at ‘s good! Terbacker is lack religion, de good Lawd made it fer people, en dey ain’ no yuther creetur w’at kin ‘preciate it.

      Perhaps this is what separates humans from animals: no animal intentionally inhaled hot smoke.

      In this particular schema, it seems humorous that God presides over his two gifts to humankind: tobacco and religion. Even though tobacco served as a cash crop, it was a source of pleasure that fell within the jurisdiction of the slaves working the fields of it - and Chestnutt seems to be suggesting that religion, to some degree, offered a similar form of relief.

    6. “You en Mis’ Annie would n’ wanter b’lieve me, ef I wuz ter ‘low dat dat man was oncet a mule?” “No,” I replied, “I don’t think it very likely that you could make us believe it.” “Why, Uncle Julius!” said Annie severely, “what ridiculous nonsense!” This reception of the old man’s statement reduced him to silence, and it required some diplomacy on my part to induce him to vouchsafe an explanation. The prospect of a long, dull afternoon was not alluring, and I was glad to have the monotony of Sabbath quiet relieved by a plantation legend.

      This all feels like caricature (and maybe a little bit like Brechtian alienation). In particular, the narrator's mention of "diplomacy" betray him as conscious of a market where his white male body is valid social currency. His and Annie's dramatic (perhaps overblown) negation of Julius' oral account understandably upsets Julius, but it also highlights the clash of two irreconcilable modes of representation. In the face of conflict, the narrator now sets off to do "damage control" and attempt to level with Julius in his rational, professional logic.

    7. Ef young Mistah McLean doan min’, he’ll hab a bad dream one er dese days, des lack ‘is grandaddy had way back yander, long yeahs befo’ de wah.”

      Look how Julius waits to speak just to make something magical. He gets the narrative going.

  2. Feb 2018
    1. I decided to tear down the old schoolhouse

      This seems like it might produce some spooky consequences.

    2. “Dey did ‘pear ter die, but a few un ’em come out ag’in, en is mixed in ‘mongs’ de yuthers. I ain’ skeered ter eat de grapes, ‘caze I knows de old vimes fum de noo ones; but wid strangers dey ain’ no tellin’ w’at mought happen. I would n’ ‘vise yer ter buy dis vimya’d.” I bought the vineyard, nevertheless, and it has been for a long time in a thriving condition, and is often referred to by the local press as a striking illustration of the opportunities open to Northern capital in the development of Southern industries.

      The sharp contrast in the two idioms here also underscores the tension between a belief in Black oral history and the embrace of the supernatural, versus the self-assured, scientific-economic speech of the white Northern capitalist narrator.

    3. He was not entirely black, and this fact, together with the quality of his hair, which was about six inches long and very bushy, except on the top of his head, where he was quite bald, suggested a slight strain of other than negro blood. There was a shrewdness in his eyes, too, which was not altogether African, and which, as we afterwards learned from experience, was indicative of a corresponding shrewdness in his character.

      In this description, the narrator reveals a persistent prejudice to anti-Blackness as he repeatedly endeavors to characterize the stranger by observations of traits that are "not altogether African."

    4. jimson-weeds and briers

      The jimson-weed is a foul-smelling variety of nightshade with toxic and hallucinogenic properties, and briers are squat shrubbery with thorny branches. The mentions of these plants, beyond strict description, seem to have a figurative quality.

    5. somnolent

      This description of the town as sleepy, and the description of its restful, "sabbatic" calm definitively give the sense that it also harbors deeply sinister things under its surface.

    6. which I shall call Patesville, because, for one reason, that is not its name

      Why is the name of this town being withheld?

    7. “That story does not appeal to me, Uncle Julius, and is not up to your usual mark. It isn’t pathetic, it has no moral that I can discover, and I can’t see why you should tell it. In fact, it seems to me like nonsense.”

      Everything has to be done to please the white hegemony, despite the fact that slavery was "over"

    8. “Fac’ is,” continued the old man, in a serious tone, “I doan lack ter dribe a mule. I ‘s alluz afeared I mought be imposin’ on some human creetur; eve’y time I cuts a mule wid a hick’ry, ‘pears ter me mos’ lackly I’s cuttin’ some er my own relations, er somebody e’se w’at can’t he’p deyse’ves.”

      This is heartbreaking, and mirrors the way that a lot of enslaved peoples were treated/viewed as animals

    9. impossible career of the blonde heroine of a rudimentary novel.

      Distaste for both women and people of color?

    10. Yes, Julius,” said I, “that was powerful goopher. I am glad, too, that you told us the moral of the story; it might have escaped us otherwise. By the way, did you make that up all by yourself?”

      what a jerk

    11. “And they all lived happy ever after,” I said, as the old man reached a full stop. “Yas, suh,”

      The irony

    12. roots

      roots = magic, as seen in previous works

    13. ‘lowance fer nachul bawn laz’ness, ner sickness, ner trouble in de min’, ner nuffin; he wuz des gwine ter git so much wuk outer eve’y han’, er know de reason w’y.

      racist stereotypes from the production/usefulness mindset

    14. said he wuz n’ raisin’ niggers, but wuz raisin’ cotton.

      Humans equated to their usefulness and production. Marx would have a field day with this.

    15. monst’us

      I wonder if the term 'monstrous' is used in another texts as well.

    16. “I’m sure he ought to be,” exclaimed my wife indignantly. “I think there is no worse sin and no more disgraceful thing than cruelty.” “I quite agree with you,” I assented.

      Oh, the irony.

    17. We found him useful in many ways and entertaining in others, and my wife and I took quite a fancy to him.


    18. unable to break off entirely the mental habits of a lifetime, but had attached himself to the old plantation, of which he seemed to consider himself an appurtenance.

      Object to object, so to speak. Something to be "cultivated"

    19. He was a marvelous hand in the management of horses and dogs, with whose mental processes he manifested a greater familiarity than mere use would seem to account for, though it was doubtless due to the simplicity of a life that had kept him close to nature.

      Very condescending, and the implication of Julius being more animalistic has not gone unnoticed.

    20. useful

      Would be interesting to see how often this word pops up.

    21. “What a system it was,” she exclaimed, when Julius had finished, “under which such things were possible!”


    22. would turn herse’f en Sandy ter foxes, er sump’n, so dey could run away en go some’rs whar dey could be free en lib lack w’ite folks.

      freedom = white

    23. Sandy wuz turnt back he had a little roun’ hole in his arm, des lack a sharp stick be’n stuck in it.

      As a 'human' he sustained the wounds he did as an object.

    24. I wisht I wuz a tree, er a stump, er a rock, er sump’n w’at could stay on de plantation fer a w’ile.’

      Objectification // plantation becoming home

    25. en ‘lowed he wuz monst’us sorry fer ter break up de fambly, but de spekilater had gin ‘im big boot, en times wuz hard en money skase, en so he wuz bleedst ter make de trade. Sandy tuk on some ’bout losin’ his wife, but he soon seed dey want no use cryin’ ober spilt merlasses; en bein’ ez he lacked de looks er de noo ‘oman, he tuk up wid her atter she’d be’n on de plantation a mont’ er so.

      The objectification and speculation of human bodies inherently lends itself to treating humans like trade and chattel

    26. monst’us good nigger, en could do so many things erbout a plantation

      Goodness and value tied to usefulness?

    27. poured freely into the sympathetic ear of a Northern-bred woman,

      Who chooses to do nothing about it?

    28. the Oriental cast of the negro’s imagination

      The exoticism / fetishizing of race is made doubly apparent here.

    29. who takes a deep interest in the stories of plantation life which she hears from the lips of the older colored people

      Sounds vaguely condescending.

    30. lugubrious

      Looking or sounding sad or dismal.

    31. We remained seated in the carriage, a few rods from the mill, and watched the leisurely movements of the mill-hands.

      So separate and above the cacophony; watching others work with a degree of separation. Those who work there are no longer people, but reduced to the duties that they perform. "Mill-hands." The body is once again divided and used.

    32. occult

      Interesting choice of words.

      • supernatural, mystical, or magical beliefs, practices, or phenomena.
    33. Its weatherbeaten sides revealed a virgin innocence of paint.

      This echoes the body as home//a house//property theme that we have seen in the past.

    34. the darker side of slavery

      What is the lighter side of slavery?