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On the Plantation

Joel Chandler Harris

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Book Excerpt: 
. . . you fer ter keep yo’ two eyes on ‘im, an’ when he say come, you come, an’ when he say go, you go.’ I’low, ‘’hey, big nigger man! what de matter?’ an’ he ‘spon’ back, ‘I done tole you, an’ I ain’t gwine tell you no mo’. So dar you got it, Marse Joe, an’ dat de way it stan’s.”

And so it happened that, humble as these negroes were, they had it in their power to smooth many a rough place in Joe Maxwell’s life. The negro women looked after him with almost motherly care, and pursued him with kindness, while the men were always ready to contribute to his pleasure.


One Sunday morning, not long after Joe’s adventur. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Okay I know, before I even start this that there are already a TON of people who are morally opposed to this book on the grounds that it is racially derrogatory. I happen to disagree. As a child of the south, I grew up hearing all the Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox stories and they have not damaged me...more

I recommend this edition. Robert Hemenway's 1981 introduction not only sets the problematic racist element in context, but shows how accurately Harris captured the black folk tales, some with their origins in Africa. Still an important contribution to American literature.

I really wanted to give this book a higher rating than just three stars. The folk-tales themselves are wonderful and culturally significant classic trickster tales that, to quote the introduction by Robert Hemenway, "symbolically inverted the slave - master relationship and satisfied the deep hum...more

I did not actually finish this book, but I read enough of it to get a strong sense of the ideas and stories and voice. Its strengths involve an incredibly faithful rendering of an older dialect of AAVE, which is valuable to have in the public record, and some twists on traditional African folktal...more

I read this for my grad-level folklore class, so my approach to the book was predominantly critical. However, I was surprised by the intricacy of the tales and genuinely enjoyed many of them. Brer Rabbit is an authentic Afro-American figure, evolved from the the trickster hare character of Africa...more

As Uncle Remus says about his brand of syrup, "Dis sho' am good."
Joel Chandler Harris' Uncle Remus: His Songs and Sayings is a fascinating read that splits opinions like no other. On the one hand you have people saying things like:

“As the racial stereotypes of the nineteenth century are inappro...more

Takes a bit of work to read since it is written in a Southern dialect, but I found reading it out loud helped. Wonderful stories that are a part of the American tapestry and tend to transport the reader back to that thine and place.

I loved this book and although I've seen portions of the movie here in the states I don't think I've ever seen the whole thing and last I heard never will. Its sad if you ask me because it depends on what you choose to focus on and if you focus on the fact it places slavery in a good light which...more

I had read a few of the Brer Rabbit stories as a kid; this collection included not just the Brer Animal stories, but also all of the (even more) terribly offensive Uncle Tom stories of Uncle Remus. I have an affection for the Brer stories, and also see some value in their place as American 'Aesop...more

I was curious to read this, particularly in light of Alice Walker's assertion that these stories made her ashamed to be black. I get it, but the stories, songs & sayings are interesting from the perspective of a certain time & place & viewpoint; I think the author meant well.

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