The Goophered Grapevine by Charles Waddell Chesnutt

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Compare the characters of Old Harjo in "The Problem of Old Harjo" and Uncle Julius "Goophered Grapevine" in regard to how they were powerless.

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The character of Old Harjo in John Milton Oskison's short story "The Problem of Old Harjo" is a Creek Indian who has been convinced by a missionary woman, Miss Evans, to convert to Christianity (Oskison himself is a Cherokee). Old Harjo has two wives. Interpretation of Scripture since around the twelfth century prohibits christian men from having more than wife. Old Harjo faces the dilemma of knowing how to blend his new beliefs with his old life. He also faces the problem of deciding what authority he sill recognize and embrace: his ancestral and cultural authority or his new religious authority, an authority presented to him in the form of Mrs. Rowell, who is the Director of the Indian Mission. These dilemmas make Old Harjo feel powerless as he is psychologically and practically forced from both sides of the dilemma: If he wants to embrace the new faith Miss Evans has taught him, he has no choice--according to the authority of Mrs. Rowell.

The character of Uncle Julius...

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