The Sheriff's Children Essay

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In the following essay, Delmar examines "the theme of the mask"— "how both whites and blacks are constrained to hide their true personalities and, often, their true racial identities from themselves and each other"—in "The Sheriff's Children."

The third and sixth stories in The Wife of His Youth, "The Sheriff's Children" and "The Passing of Grandison," illustrate the mask-theme and the maskstructure in Chesnutt's fiction, and the fact that they do so in markedly different ways makes them worthy of separate consideration here. "The Sheriff's Children" uses his mask theme negatively: hiding one's true soul leads to tragedy. "The Passing of Grandison," on the other hand, like "Her Virginia Mammy," apparently argues that maskwearing can be a virtue if it is directed toward virtuous ends. "The Sheriff's Children" uses techniques of subtle foreshadowing to screen its conclusion. In "The Passing of Grandison," however, Chesnutt...

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This section contains 1,944 words
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Buy The Sheriff's Children Study Guide
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The Sheriff's Children from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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