What Do I Read Next?
Chopin's The Awakening (1899) was controversial because of its frank treatment of an adulterous affair as well as the subject of female sexuality. Largely unread throughout most of the 1900s, it was rediscovered in 1972 and has since become a classic.
"The Necklace’’ (1884) by Guy de Maupassant, who is considered to be France's greatest short-story writer, includes a ‘‘trick ending’’ that has tragic results.
Mary E. Wilkins Freeman was a New England writer working at the same time as Chopin who was also considered a local colorist. ''The Revolt of 'Mother'’’ (1891) tells a funny but serious story of a Massachusetts farm wife's assertion of independence.
Sarah Orne Jewett is another of Chopin's contemporaries who wrote regional fiction. Her collection of sketches about life in a fictional Maine coastal village, The Country of the Pointed Firs (1896), is an acclaimed example of local color.
O.Henry is the master of the ‘‘trick ending.’’ His story ‘‘The Gift of the Magi’’ (1905) is perhaps the most well-known of those stories with an ironic reversal at the end. It tells about a young couple who, despite their poverty, want to give each other a fine gift on Christmas Eve.
Mark Twain's 1894 novel Pudd'nhead Wilson is a story about miscegenation (cohabitation, sexual relations, or marriage between persons of different races) in the antebellum South. A light-skinned slave switches her baby with her white owner's baby, with unexpected results for the entire household. The novel is noted for its grim humor and its reflections on the nature of racism.
Charles Chesnutt's story ‘‘The Wife of His Youth’’ (1899) examines color prejudices among African Americans against those people with darker skin.
Cane (1923), an experimental novel by Jean Toomer, expresses the experience of being African American in the United States. The novel is comprised of a variety of literary forms, including poems and short stories. It draws on the South's rural past and on African-American folklore.