The Goophered Grapevine by Charles Waddell Chesnutt

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In "The Goophered Grapevine," how did the author, Charles W. Chestnut, incorporate folklore into the story to subvert white power?

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In "The Goophered Grapevine," a "goophered" is a Southern vernacular term meaning "bewitched." The author presents the character of Julius, an elderly African American man who has outlived slavery, as a trickster figure.

The trickster, who appears in the folk tales of many African cultures, came to occupy an important place in African American oral tradition as well. Julius aims to undermine the confidence of the Northern buyer of the former McAdoo vineyard by telling him stories about the supernatural activities on the North Carolina estate.

Julius frames (and thereby enhances the credibility of) his stories by attributing them to McAdoo's own actions: it was a powerful white man, he...

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