When days are getting shorter, when weather becomes colder we all search something that would warm us. And not only physically. When another natures cycle comes to an end (everything dies, so it could be born again in spring) and everything seems so dark, grey, dirty and depressive we look for something that could light up our souls. For some it might be a hot cup of tea with honey and lemon. For the others it would be new feelings. For thirds it would be a nice story about love thath lives on against all odds. Don’t you agree with me?
Those who live in places where there is no autumn season probably won’t agree me. But those who know what I’m talking about, let’s move on to the story , because this time its Thomas Mayne Reid’s “The Quadroon: Or, A Lover’s Adventures in Louisiana”.
The novel isn’t an extraordinary story. It’s justa a typical XIX century love story between a young Englishman and a slave quadronn Aurora. However, this love has to face lots of challenges: Edward (the Englishman) might become an outlaw if he marries a slave, Aurora’s owner Eugenie is tricked by an lawyer Dominic and she loses everything (her plantation, mansion and slaves, including Aurora who are about to be sold out in an auction), Edward can’t buy back Aurora, because he hasn’t got enough money… But when everything seems so desperate it ends well, just like autumn ends, just like winter ends, and with the coming of spring everything goes just fine.
I know that the plot of the story might seem a little cheesy, but you know, sometimes it’s worth to enjoy that kind of stories too. And yes, I agree that the portrayal of characters looks really trite, but then again let’s not forget when the story was written and what time it shows us – first half of XIX century. So at this point it shows problems of that period known because of a slavery. A problem that is black stain not only in American history, but in all of ours as humanity history.
In the novel we see a distinction between black people (slaves), creoles (french people in northern states of USA in XIX century) and quadroons (people whose one of the grandparents was black and the other – white) common to that time. And when you think about these things, they are common in today’s world too: we don’t have slaves, black people have equals rights, but the racial discrimination exists, it did not go anywhere. So the problem questions raised in Mayne Reid’s novel could and should be discussed today too.
It’s really great that Mayne Reid was not afraid to develop a love story between a slave and a white man. Considering the time, he wrote this novel, it was brave. Plus, this way he brought up this human rights question. I don’t know whether it was worth something, or did it actually change something, but I’m glad he did it. Those ackward discussions about serious problems should be brought up and talked, because that’s how problems are solved.
So, if you feel lonely, sad, depressed just because it’s dark outside and raining – grab this book and read it. Yes, you might not get as fascinated as you could be by reading some other one, but you’ll ger warm and you’ll see that not everything is that bad. There is good, help, sympathy, love… Those things exist, it’s just us, who either don’t want to seem them or don’t want to let them in our world, for God knows what reasons.