Chopin and African-Americans
NARRATOR: Chopin's observations of the different cultures, speech patterns and interpersonal relationships are evident throughout her writing. Blacks are often depicted with speech patterns indicating little or no education� a reflection of the time that Chopin lived and wrote. But, that isn't always the case.
SOUNDBITE: Tom Bonner/Xavier University of LA.
Chopin's black characters meet the images and roles of so many. We find them almost as third level characters scattered throughout her fiction. She also has what we would refer to today as stereotypical features. But there are a surprising number of Chopin's black characters who break the mold.
SOUNDBITE: Barbara Ewell/Loyola University (New Orleans)
Black characters were treated with a sense of dignity, personhood in that they were not just backdrops, although that's not completely true throughout, consistently true in fiction, they do show up as just the invisible servants as well.
NARRATOR: Scholars say despite the lack of attention given to many of the African-American characters in Chopin's stories, you can still see her attention to the feelings of these characters�the joy, the pain, and the terrible grief.