Michael's Reviews > The Marrow of Tradition

The Marrow of Tradition by Charles W. Chesnutt
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's review
Feb 03, 11

bookshelves: ap-english, classics, favorites
Read from January 09 to 11, 2011

“We are all puppets in the hands of Fate, and seldom see the strings that move us."

The Marrow of Tradition is incredible. I loved it so much that I stayed home from school for the first half of the day just to finish it. I think I enjoyed this book so much because it reminded me of A Tale of Two Cities in the way the plot unfolded. It involved a complicated web of characters and subplots, but as the story evolved, all the characters intertwined and came together. Any author who writes a story with a huge lot of unconnected characters and, through a story, can slowly connect all of them can win over my heart in a snap.

This novel is a fictional depiction of the social and political struggles that led up to the Race Riot of 1898. Even though Chesnutt's narrator has a very straightforward way of relaying the events that take place in the story, I still felt the superficiality of the white people's worries regarding the African Americans of Wilmington. Chesnutt did a very nice job of making the whites' disgust seem unwarranted, especially toward the end.

Like I said before, I find it impressive how the author intermingled so many separate storylines while simultaneously building complex, interesting characters. Racism, love triangles, murder, gambling addictions, family drama, and possessed babies can all be found within these pages, but not once did the plot seem too bogged down. Chesnutt did a fantastic job of letting each separate storyline run smoothly into the next, and I forever applaud him for it.

This book may not be for everyone, but I still recommend you give it a try. I loved every page of it.
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