“The Passing of Grandison” is a short story by Charles W. Chesnutt. This work tells the story of the Owens family and their slaves.
Colonel Owens, the head of the household, views himself as a father figure to both his son, Dick, and to his slaves. Born into poverty and having worked hard for money, Colonel Owens believes he has knowledge to impart on others and that his standing in society demands respect. In reality, this hubris will come back to hurt him.
First, Colonel Owens believes he has intimate knowledge of the slave experience and thinks his treatment of slaves is desirable, and his hubris causes him to believe his slaves respect him as a father figure. When Grandison returns to the plantation, Colonel Owens takes this as validation of his belief, which makes him trust Grandison more. Grandison takes advantage of this trust to help his entire family escape from the plantation.
Secondly, Colonel Owens does not have a trusting relationship with his son, Dick. When Dick wants to...
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