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The House behind the Cedar
The House Behind the Cedars is the first published novel by American author Charles W. Chesnutt. It was published in 1900 by Houghton, Mifflin and Company. The story occurs in the southern American states of North and South Carolina a few years following the American Civil War. Rena Walden, a young woman of mixed white and black ancestry, leaves home to join her brother, who has migrated to a new city, where he lives as a white man. Following her brother’s lead, Rena begins living as a white woman. The secret of her identity leads to conflict when she falls in love with a white aristocrat who learns the truth of her heredity. The ensuing drama emphasizes themes of interracial relations and depicted the intricacies of racial identity in the American south.
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