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Word Count: 763
Are you seriously considering the possibility of a mans being turned into a tree questions John of his wife in Charles Chesnutts novel The Conjure Woman His attention to the supernatural in the stories told by Uncle Julius lead him to miss the significance of the themes behind the stories Rather than understanding the humanity of the slave and his need for love he simply focuses on the fact that he Sandy becomes a tree This is just one example of Johns misunderstanding of the stories told by Uncle Julius The characters inability to look beyond the surface of the stories he hears influences his perception of the validity of these stories Further because he refuses to look beyond the rational he is unable to see the essential elements of evil in slavery In addition the protagonists faults are representative of societys ability to romanticize and gloss over the institution of slavery and are a negation of the sentimentality of slavery prevalent in society during that period The stories within the stories as told by Uncle Julius relay several themes important in rebutting the sentimentality of slavery One theme Uncle Juliuss stories rebut is that of the relationship between families One way in which the author addresses this issue is in Sis Beckys Pickaninny Chesnutt condemns the treatment of slaves as capital while confirming their need for family To illustrate when Becky is traded for a racehorse she is devastated by the loss of her son In order to keep the family together the aunt resorts to hiring a local conjure woman to bring the family together again Only after Becky and Mose are reunited is she able to find some semblance of happiness Beckys desire to remain with her son dispels the myth that African Americans were inhuman incapable of caring about their children At the same time the story indicts the nostalgia for slavery as a good and fair institution John appears
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