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Continuing to work through the contents of editor Charles L. The eponymous Jean Marie Poquelin, a former indigo planter and slave trader, is suspected of misdeed either fratricide or secret imprisonment involving his thirty-years-younger half-Brother Jacques, who disappeared seven years earlier while accompanying Jean on a slave-buying expedition to the Guinea coast. To the Creoles—to the incoming lower class of superstitious Germans, Irish, Sicilians, and others—he became an omen and embodiment of public and private ill-fortune.
Upon him all the vagaries of their superstition gathered and grew. If a house caught fire, it was imputed to his machinations. Did a woman go off in a fit, he had bewitched her. Did a child stray off for an hour, the mother shivered with the apprehension that Jean Poquelin had offered him to strange gods.
Do you not see our pease and beans dying, our cabbages and lettuce going to seed and our gardens turning to dust, while every day you can see it raining in the woods? He keeps a fetich. He has conjured the whole Fauborg St. And why, the old wretch? Simply because our playful and innocent children call after him as he passes. Perhaps most damning of all in the eyes of his contemporaries, old Jean has resisted the in-roads of modernization he literally tries to prevent a new road being created across his land.
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A.G. Exemplary? Considering the American Gothicism of George Washington Cable’s “Jean-Ah Poquelin”
October George Washington Cable was among the many Post-Civil War writers who did their best to give us a glimpse of the Pre-Civil War customs and cultures before they were gone and forgotten. Through his book, Jean-ah Poquelin , we see the New Orleans landscape with marshes and gators, and hear the main character, Jean, an Aristocratic French Creole , speak in French, his native language. Click on this map for a video about the Louisiana Purchase:.
What I do understand is the strange relationships Jean-Marie has with the reader and the other characters. It seems so often that the true nature of gothic characters is revealed only to the reader and not the other characters, and only we know how dastardly they truly are. The people living in the newly American-acquired territory have moved on from the old plantation crops, such as indigo, and have begun to grow things such as sugar. In the story, the townspeople are attempting to undergo innovation and growth as much as the early s would allow. I think the unsettling and weirdly sympathetic feeling the story left me with came mostly from the nature of the treatment of Jean-Marie by the townspeople, which I suppose can be traced loosely to socio-economic standings. Perhaps the other plantation owners around him in New Orleans were more focussed on growing massive amounts of sugar and as I learned in US history, they were very focussed on growing massive amounts of sugar cane , which would leave them more wealthy. Newer Post Older Post Home.
Look for a summary or analysis of this Story. It stood aloof from civilization, the tracts that had once been its indigo fields given over to their first noxious wildness, and grown up into one of the horridest marshes within a circuit of fifty miles. The house was of heavy cypress, lifted up on pillars, grim, solid, and spiritless, its massive build a strong reminder of days still earlier, when every man had been his own peace officer and the insurrection of the blacks a daily contingency. Its dark, weatherbeaten roof and sides were hoisted up above the jungly plain in a distracted way, like a gigantic ammunition-wagon stuck in the mud and abandoned by some retreating army.