Monstrous Stewardship and the Plantation in Charles Chesnutt's “The Goophered Grapevine”
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This chapter analyzes Charles W. Chesnutt’s 1887 short story “The Goophered Grapevine” in light of both cultural monster theory and environmental literary criticism. Specifically, it looks at how Chesnutt imagines the plantation as both the product and embodiment of a monstrous system of agriculturally-based racial oppression. Chesnutt’s story counters the romantic portrayals of the southern plantation so common to stories of the late nineteenth-century period. In so doing, he points out that the plantation system lives on in the post-bellum era, highlighting the idea that the combined racial and environmental abuse of the plantation derives from a cruel and short-sighted agricultural stewardship, one from which both southern and northern interests have much to gain.
This accepted book chapter is published as Sivils, M.W. Monstrous Stewardship and the Plantation in Charles Chesnutt's “The Goophered Grapevine”. in Stewardship and the Future of the Planet.