The Conjure Woman: The Goophered Grapevine

By: Charles Waddell Chestnutt

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This Goophered Grapevine is about a couple who relocates to North Carolina because the family doctor advised them to make a change in climate because the wife was poor in health. They brought a plantation and choose to continue their careers, well at least the husband does. He takes his wife to the plantation one day where they both meet Uncle Julius who describes the vineyard as “Goophered” or “bewitched,” and it still has the same notion of slavery.  Later in the story a lady by the name of Peggy began to really construct the grapevines and then tells everyone, such as the slaves that if they ate of the grapevines, they would die within twelve months. This story is told through different narrarator’s and this is what stuck out the most to me. For instance, after aunt Peggy’s input about the grapevines, a slave eats from the grapevine that wasn’t aware of the “spell” and finds himself being swindled into thinking that when the spring came, if he obeyed Peggy’s words he would still be granted life. This story touches on how you can damage the environment like when the Yankee provided help to Mr. McAdoo towards the end of the story.

 

 

 

 

 

The Goophered Grapevine relates to the environment in many different ways.  The first way was the way the harsh winters of the great lakes causes the wife's illness, and makes them have to relocate. Then there was his description of the southern town in North Carolina that they moved to as stated by Chesnutt, “no better place could be found in the South than the State and neighborhood where he lived; the climate was perfect for health, and, in conjunction with the soil, ideal for grape-culture; labor was cheap, and land could be bought for a mere song” (Chesnutt).  He describes it being nice at the end of the summer season as well. The story also talks about when the Yankee provided help to Mr. McAdoo and they trimmed to close to the vineyard. The mixture of manure, ash, limes, and mayo could not have been good for the vineyard.