Who were the Creoles?
In the beginning of the novel it is mentioned that the main character, Mrs. Lafirme was a Creole woman. The people characterized as being Creole lived in Louisiana and were the descendants of French and Spanish settlers during the time when they occupied Louisiana. In time, this also became a term used to describe the black people born in Louisiana. During the time when the action of the novel takes place, the term was freely used and it also came to make reference to the Haitian refugees in the area. It is unsure what race Mrs. Lafirme was but one thing is for certain and that is she was most likely mixed race.
Why were divorced people criticized in the 19th century?
In the past, America like almost all other countries in the world were extremely religious. Most of them accepted Christianity as their religion and obeyed the principals and laws mentioned in the Bible. Divorce was not seen as an option when marring only in the case of adultery and so there were little to no divorces in those times. Marriages were often not the union of two people who loved each other but rather the joining of two wealthy families. It was common for the married couple to have no feelings for one another and the idea promoted was that love was going to follow once a couple started living together. Women were expected to be faithful to their husbands but it was common knowledge that men were not subject to the same laws and so many had affairs from which children resulted. Women generally put up with these practices because they had no income and so they depended on their husbands for an income. When a divorce took place, questions arise about the motif behind it. Because divorce was not something common, the rest of the population assumed that something truly horrible must have taken place for a divorce to be needed. Because of this, those who were divorced faced discrimination and found it hard in most cases to find another suitable partner to accept them.
Who does McFarlane represent?
Melicent becomes obsessed with a story she hears about a man named McFarlane. According to the legend, he was an extremely cruel man who killed a large number of black people. He is compared with the antagonist in ‘’Uncle Tom’s Cabin’’, Simon Legree, a cruel Northern slave owner and trader. McFarlane is dead in the novel but his ghost continues to roam the land and inflict pain. In a sense, the characters in the book argue that McFarlane never died and continues to live on. The way through which he continues to exist is through the inhumane treatment of the black slaves. In this sense, McFarlane and Simon Legree continued to live until slavery was abolished and every black woman, child and man became free.
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