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Bred In The Bone 1908   By: (1853-1922)

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Bred In The Bone, written by Thomas Nelson Page and published in 1908, is a compelling and thought-provoking novel that delves deep into the complexities of race, heritage, and identity in post-Civil War America. Set in the South during the Reconstruction era, the story follows the life of Adam, a young biracial man born to a former slave and a white plantation owner.

Page's vivid and descriptive writing style brings the era to life, skillfully capturing the nuances of the Southern landscape and the turbulent social climate of the time. Through the eyes of Adam, the readers are exposed to a range of conflicting emotions and experiences. Adam's struggles with his dual heritage, and his constant pursuit of identity and acceptance, form the backbone of the narrative.

One of the novel's major strengths lies in its nuanced portrayal of the various characters and their complex relationships. Page skillfully explores the dynamics between Adam and his white half-siblings, his mother's love for her mixed-race child, and the impact of societal expectations on the characters' sense of self. The author brilliantly navigates the delicate balance between unveiling the harsh realities of racial discrimination without succumbing to stereotypes or oversimplifying the complexities of the issues at hand.

Furthermore, the novel's exploration of the political and social climate of the time is both insightful and thought-provoking. Page deftly introduces discussions of slavery, racial subjugation, and the consequences of the Civil War, subtly weaving them into the fabric of the story. His portrayal of attitudes towards race in the South during this period adds depth to the narrative, providing readers with a multifaceted understanding of the challenges faced by individuals like Adam.

However, it is important to note that Bred In The Bone was written in a time where racial attitudes were vastly different from present-day perspectives. Some readers may find certain descriptions or characterizations uncomfortable or offensive. It is crucial to approach the novel with an understanding of its historical context and to critically analyze the representation of race and identity within it.

Despite its age, Bred In The Bone remains a significant literary work that highlights the enduring relevance and complexity of issues concerning race and identity. Page's remarkable storytelling and deft characterizations make this novel a worthwhile read for those interested in delving into the fraught history of race relations in America.

First Page:


By Thomas Nelson Page

Charles Scribner's Sons New York, 1908

Copyright, 1891, 1904, 1906


It was the afternoon before the closing day of the spring meeting of the old Jockey Club that so many people know. The next day was to be the greatest ever known on that course; the Spring Meeting was to go out in a blaze of glory. As to this everybody in sight this spring afternoon was agreed; and the motley crowd that a little before sunset stood clustered within the big white painted gate of the grounds about the Jockey Club race stables rarely agreed as to anything. From the existence of the Deity to the effect of a blister on a windgall, through the whole range of stable thought and horse talk, there was no subject, speaking generally, on which that mongrel population agreed, except, of course, on one thing the universal desirability of whiskey. On this one subject they all agreed, always.

Yet they were now all of one mind on the fact that the next day was to be the record on that course. In the first place, the prize in the great over night event, the steeplechase set for the morrow, was the biggest ever offered by the club, and the "cracks" drawn together for the occasion were the best ever collected at a meeting on that course.

Even such noted steeplechasers as Mr... Continue reading book >>

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