The Literature of the Day
Social Studies in Story*
In the guise of the story the relations between the white and colored peoples of the New South are described powerfully, incisively, relentlessly in Mr. Chesnutt's story, The Colonel's Dreams. Social and economic problems, child labor in the mills, the contract convict system, the difficulties in the way of the reformer, are frankly and fairly discussed with no note of hysterical appeal. Wrongs on either side are not condoned even when explained.
It is impossible to read the book with our experiencing a deeper sympathy with both races and a keener realization of the tremendous struggle, The "Colonel's dream" came to naught, and in the village he hoped to see regenerated "white men go their way, and black men go theirs, and these ways grow wider apart, and no one knows the outcome." Yet the author concludes hopefully, believing that there is in the South a slowly changing attitude of mind towards order and justice.
[The Colonel's Dream, by Charles Waddell Chesnutt, pp. 294. Doubleday, Page & Co. $1.50.]
"Social Studies in Story" in "Literature of the Day," The Congregationalist and Christian World 90 (Oct. 28, 1905): 601.