George Washington Cable was among the many Post-Civil War writers who Through his book, Jean-ah Poquelin, we see the New Orleans. The main character of the story is Jean Marie Poquelin a native Creole with a would even say, “He should ask Jacques as soon as he got home” (Cable ). The Artistry of Cable’s. “Jean-ah Poquelin”. By Alice Hall Petty. In the more than a century since George Washington Cable first gained national prominence.
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This short story is set in the earlier part of the 19th century around in Louisiana. The main character of the story is Jean Marie Poquelin a native Creole with a successful indigo plantation. His only family was his exceedingly smart younger brother Jacques. It was obvious to everybody that Jean doted on his much younger brother. It was a well known fact about town that Jean was the gambler of the family, but Jacques was the brains.
Abby Ward – Gothic Fiction: Reflections on “Jean-ah Poquelin” by George Washington Cable
Between one brothers reckless habits and the others bookish aptitude the estate eventually fell into decay. Jean gambled away all of their slaves, save one elderly mute African. Indigo fields grew obsolete in their region and Jean lacked the needed ambition to start up a new crop of the more lucrative sugar cane that was becoming all the rage in and around his hometown, thus turned to smuggling and later African slave-trade. Jean was planning a long voyage to the Guinea coast when his younger brother begged to go along.
Together they left for the long trip, leaving their sole mute slave in charge of the remaining estate. It was two years later before old Jean would return home, notably absent where his ship and his much younger brother, Jacques. It should be noted that Jean Poquelin was well noted for his quick temper and rather reclusive behavior by the towns people.
“Jean-ah-Poqulein” – Madness In a Gothic Setting
So when he returned home without his younger brother and refused to discuss the matter much speculation and rumor was soon running rampant throughout the heart of their small community. As time went by Jean became more and more reclusive, rarely leaving his estate and when he did venture out it was always in a rushed and abrupt manner. If anybody attempted to converse with Jean he was to the point and if pushed he would get downright rude.
This behavior did not place him in a favorable light with his neighbors, they found him odd and mysterious. Before long all sorts of rumors and innuendos were being traded about amongst the township, the most prolific being that Jean murdered his younger brother while on their voyage to Guinea.
Of course there was also talk of hauntings, several people came forward whispering that they had seen a white apparition moving about the Poquelin estate late at night.
Eventually the small township began to outgrow itself and more land was needed to build new roads and buildings. This did not go over well with the reclusive Jean and even though he ventured out to make his protest known, all the Governor did was laugh in his face and blow poor Poque,in off. As more and more immigrants moved into their small township so did the rumors of Jean Poquelin grow.
They tried repeatedly to get him to sell but every request sent remained unopened and unanswered. It would appear that Jean had no intent to ever sell his estate. But this was not going to stop the towns people from getting what they wanted.
He needed to go, if not for the land they wanted then at the very least for the good of the town as a whole. So it was decided that a group of men, young and old alike,would gather together and visit a shivaree upon upon the Poquelin estate. A shivaree was generally known as a mock serenade with kettles, pots, and pans being banged together causing a loud annoying ruckus.
This would go on for hours at a time, normally during the nighttime. It was their hope that they would drive Jean from his home with their bullish behavior. Why he had been at the estate all along.
The mute slave, Jacques and the coffin were bound for washinbton only state-side leprosy colony in America, which just happened to reside right there in Louisiana. The mob quietly watched the tiny parade of two walk past them and down the the road until they were out of sight, never to be seen or heard from again. During the time period that this story is set there was an ever growing number of immigrants immersing themselves into the still new and young United States.
For each and every immigrant that made passage to their new home they brought with them their culture, which consisted of a variety of nuances, one of those being their neuroticism.
Any type of behavior that was out of the ordinary was deemed strange and therefore a threat, something to fear and worry over. The longer something remained a mystery the more frightening it became.
Most likely the town would have forced Jean to have his brother committed to a leprosy colony out of fear for their own health. Since Jean had such a close and loving relationship with his little brother the idea of being forever separated from him would have been his biggest poqielin, which caused him to remain quiet, more reclusive than ever and poauelin likely encouraged the tall tales of hauntings and anything else that would keep people away.
The Adaptation of Madness. Navigation The Adaptation of Madness. Jean-ah-Poqulein by Christina Alpe.