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Last Updated on September 5, 2023, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 249

The Grandissimes: A Story of Creole Life by George Washington Cable is a literary work in which the narrative is dependently connected to its setting, which is New Orleans. In a sense, The Grandissimes is an ethnographic study on the culture of New Orleans and Louisiana Creoles. The subtitle, "A Story of Creole Life," is evidence of this assessment.

The book not only presents the life and perspectives of the white Americans and Europeans of New Orleans but also shows the lives of slaves as well. New Orleans, at the height of the slave trade, was one of the largest slave ports in North America. There were so many slaves in New Orleans, and Louisiana as a whole, that blacks and whites formed a complex society together, which gave the city a unique culture at the time, especially compared to other parts of the South.

The novel explores these complexities, as well as the dynamics between the African American population and the white populace. Two of the main characters—Joseph and Honoré—represent the progressive whites who detested the institution of slavery and the mistreatment of African Americans.

However, they also represent the intricate balance between desiring justice for slaves and taking part in the system because slavery was crucial to the local economy. Honoré's own financial abilities were dependent on slavery. George Washington Cable was able to articulate the true nature of slavery as a system in The Grandissimes by examining the culture of a particular place.

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