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Uncle Remus

Joel Chandler Harris

Book Overview: 

Many readers will already be familiar with Uncle Remus’ favorite animal characters – Br’er Rabbit and Br’er Fox among them – and some of the popular tales concerning them. (To this day, “tar baby” as an expression for a particularly sticky situation that is almost impossible to solve, has passed into the English language and common use.) Even people who have never read any of these tales will know exactly why you don’t throw a rabbit into a briar patch, mainly because Walt Disney produced his first movie ever to use professional actors with animation, called “Song of the South”, based on the Uncle Remus tales.

Joel Chandler Harris, a newsman in Georgia, grew up listening to folktales told by the local black population. Later, he published his version of these tales in a series of stories printed in the “Atlanta Constitution.” The tales of, and by, Harris’ chief character Uncle Remus, an old black man scrabbling to make his living in the post-Civil War South, were extremely popular and widely read. Harris’ use of innovative spelling to give the reader a sense of the black dialect was considered novel.

While this is not a book that will pass a current political correctness test, due to its use of labels for black folks which have gone out of polite conversation, Uncle Remus is a largely sympathetic look at post-war plantation life. Uncle Remus himself is a warm, folksy man of good humor and dry wit, and after finishing his animal stories, the remaining sayings and tales are a moment of history frozen in amber.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Mr. Buzzard laughin' behime his back, he did, en right den en dar, widout gwine enny fudder, Brer Fox, he smelt a rat. But Mr. Buzzard, he keep on holler'n:

"'He in dar, Brer Fox. He in dar, sho. I done seed 'im.'

"Den Brer Fox, he make like he peepin' up de holler, en he say, sezee:

"'Run yer, Brer Buzzard, en look ef dis ain't Brer Rabbit's foot hanging down yer.'

"En Mr. Buzzard, he come steppin' up, he did, same ez ef he wer treddin' on kurkle-burs, en he stick his head in de hole; en no sooner did he done dat dan Brer Fox grab 'im. Mr. Buzzard flap his wings, en scramble 'roun' right smartually, he did, but 'twant no use. Brer Fox had de 'vantage er de grip, he did, en he hilt 'im right down ter de groun'. Den Mr. Buzzard squall out, sezee:

"'Lemme 'lone, Brer Fox. Tu'n me loose,' sezee; 'Brer Rabbit 'll git out. You er gittin' close at 'im,' sezee, 'en le. . . Read More

Community Reviews

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 African f

Interesting read

I’ve wanted to pick this up for some time, I’m glad I finally did. The book took some getting used to as the dialect is difficult to read straight from the page. I found myself whisper reading to make sense of what was on the page. Unfortunately I feel like I missed some of the tales

If you can get past the politically incorrect language, there is a lot of wisdom in these simple stories.

This is a charming collection of stories of talking animals especially Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox that get into various scrapes, similar to Aesop's Fables, told by old Uncle Remus to a little boy long ago - in the "mythical" South. The illustrations are great! This is the book for anyone who's ever wo

ვიფიქრე,დღეს რომელიმე კეთილ წიგნს წავიკითხავ-მეთქი :დ ავარჩიე ბიძია რემუსის ზღაპრები, ჰოდა, კომბლეზე რა გითხრათ,მაგრამ ამ ზღაპრებმა იმედები გამიცრუა :| არანაირი სიკეთე ;დ მხოლოდ და მხოლოდ ტყუილი,ცბიერება,ძალადობა,გამორჩენის მცდელობა და ა.შ. და ა.შ. ;დ მოკლედ მაპატიე,ჯოელ ჰარის ,მაგრამ იმდენი კეთილი

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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