The Magazine Novels of Pauline Hopkins Summary
by Pauline Hopkins

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The Novels

(Literary Essentials: African American Literature)

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In Hagar’s Daughter: A Story of Southern Caste Prejudice, Hagar marries Ellis Enson, and they have a child. Shortly after that, St. Clair Enson, Ellis’s cruel, dissolute brother, appears with a slave trader, Walker, to prove that Hagar is of mixed blood. Hagar does not know of her heritage and has been reared as white. After much soul searching, Ellis decides to ignore Hagar’s race and to take her and the child to Europe. Upon learning of this plan, St. Clair beats Ellis severely and leaves him for dead. Hagar and her daughter then become the property of St. Clair, who sells them at a slave market. Believing Ellis to be dead and herself to be beyond help, Hagar jumps into the Potomac, carrying her daughter along with her.

Twenty years later, in Washington, D.C., Cuthbert Sumner is charged with the murder of Elise Bradford. Summer’s fiancée, Jewel Bower, marries him as he awaits trial. Her father dies. At Sumner’s trial, the identities of various characters are revealed. St. Clair Enson, using the name General Benson, and Walker, using the name Madison, have attempted to bilk the Bowen family out of its fortune. St. Clair, who fathered Bradford’s child, murders her to keep her from interfering with his plan to marry Jewel and gain control of her money. Sumner is framed in order to remove him from Jewel’s life. Henson, a detective, admits that he is Ellis Enson, and Mrs. Bowen identifies herself as Hagar.

Sumner is acquitted, and St. Clair and Walker are arrested. Ellis and Hagar are reunited, and soon Hagar finds evidence proving that Jewel is their daughter. Sumner rejects her. He overcomes his prejudice too late and learns that she is dead.

In Winona: A Tale of Negro Life in the South and Southwest, the title character and Judah live with White Eagle, an English aristocrat who is murdered by Colonel Titus. Warren Maxwell, in search of the heir to a fortune, meets Winona and Judah and hopes to take them to England, but Bill Thomson claims he is their owner and takes them to Missouri. Maxwell finds Winona and Judah working as slaves on Titus’s plantation after learning that Titus is the indirect heir to the fortune.

When Winona and Judah are about to be sold, Maxwell helps them to escape to abolitionist John Brown’s camp. Soon thereafter, Maxwell is shot by Thomson and narrowly avoids being burned at the stake by a proslavery mob. Titus stops the mob but arrests Maxwell, who, after a mockery of a trial, is condemned to death. While awaiting execution in prison, Maxwell falls ill and is tended by Allen Pinks, who is actually Winona in disguise. After he recovers, she helps him to escape. In a battle, Judah causes Thomson to fall off a cliff. Before dying, Thomson reveals that White Eagle is the missing heir to the fortune. Winona, Maxwell, and Judah go to England, where Winona marries Maxwell and Judah is knighted.

In Of One Blood: Or, the Hidden Self, Reuel Briggs, passing as white, goes to a Halloween party, where he sees the supernatural image of Dianthe Lusk. Soon after, Dianthe is involved in an accident and is declared dead. The extraordinary skill of Briggs, a medical student, revives her. She has lost her memory, and he lets her believe that she is white. They fall in love, but Aubrey Livingston, a false friend of Briggs who knows his secret, blocks all professional opportunities for Briggs, except for one that will take him to Africa. Dianthe and Briggs get married the night before he leaves. Briggs leaves Dianthe in Livingston’s care.

Livingston, lusting after Dianthe, drowns his own fiancée and withholds Briggs’s letters to Dianthe. Briggs never receives her letters. Livingston blackmails Dianthe into marrying him by telling her of her heritage and threatening to tell Briggs.

In Africa, Briggs is part of an expedition looking for treasure hidden in a lost city. Briggs finds the city, Telassar, which turns out to be inhabited. He learns that he is King Ergamenes, whom the civilization has awaited. A...

(The entire section is 1,061 words.)