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Uncle Remus [Reading] ➾ Uncle Remus By Joel Chandler Harris – Thomashillier.co.uk Bearing a striking resemblance to Aesop of Aesop s Fables fame, American author Joel Chandler Harris Uncle Remus is also a former slave who loves to tell simple and pithy stories Uncle Remus or to giv Bearing a striking resemblance to Aesop of Aesop s Fables fame, American author Joel Chandler Harris Uncle Remus is also a former slave who loves to tell simple and pithy stories Uncle Remus or to give it its original title, Uncle Remus His Songs and His Sayings was published in lateand received instant acclaim The book was reviewed in hundreds of journals and newspapers across the country, leading to its immense success, both critical and financial Remus was originally a fictional character in a newspaper column Harris, who was a journalist with the Atlanta Constitution, a small town newspaper, first presented Remus to the world via a regular column in which Remus was depicted as a person who regularly visited the newspaper offices to talk about the social issues of the day However, later, Remus began to increasingly recount plantation folktales that Harris had compiled He had heard them from the slaves of Turnworld Plantation as ayear old school dropout, working as an apprentice in a newspaper office located in the area Harris was a poor, illegitimate, immigrant Irish boy who found in common with the slaves on the plantation than with his so called social equals He spent much of his free time in the slave quarters, absorbing their lifestyle, folklore and legends Uncle Remus is famous also for one of its most lovable and astute characters, Br er Rabbit This smart, yet mischievous fellow and his companions have provided endless entertainment for generations of children The original stories were rendered in authentic Southern Georgia slave dialect and later adapted so that they could be better understood Apart from the doings of the trickster rabbit, Uncle Remus contains poems, songs and folk tales deeply rooted in the plantation tradition Though early critics were dismayed by the apparent racist nature of the stories and the passive acceptance of the slave owning situation, modern versions have overcome these aspects and Uncle Remus today provides education, information and entertainment for children and parents Thebooks that were originally written have been compiled into nine Uncle Remus series and three books were published posthumously A total ofUncle Remus stories were penned and they were path breaking in their depiction of the authentic speech of the Southern plantations Extensively adapted for radio, animation, film and television, Uncle Remus is today an essential part of children s literature In fact, not just children, but older readers too will find the book a delightful classic.


About the Author: Joel Chandler Harris

Joel Chandler Harris was an American journalist born in Eatonton, Georgia who wrote the Uncle Remus stories, including Uncle Remus His Songs and His Sayings, The Folk Lore of the Old Plantation, , Nights with Uncle Remus , Uncle Remus and His Friends , and Uncle Remus and the Little Boy The stories, based on the African American oral storytelling tradition, were revolutionary in their use of dialect and in featuring a trickster hero called Br er Brother Rabbit, who uses his wits against adversity, though his efforts do not always succeed The frog is the trickster character in traditional tales in Central and Southern Africa The stories, which began appearing in the Atlanta Constitution in , were popular among both Black and White readers in the North and South, not least because they presented an idealized view of race relations soon after the Civil War The first published Brer Rabbit stories were written by President Theodore Roosevelt s uncle, Robert Roosevelt.



10 thoughts on “Uncle Remus

  1. Shelley Shelley says:

    Okay I know, before I even start this that there are already a TON of people who are morally opposed to this book on the grounds that it is racially derrogatory I happen to disagree As a child of the south, I grew up hearing all the Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox stories and they have not damaged me or caused me to be an evil racially hateful woman I consider when they were written and realize that the stories are wonderfully imaginative and teach a moral lesson at the heart of each one I remember Okay I know, before I even start this that there are already a TON of people who are morally opposed to this book on the grounds that it is racially derrogatory I happen to disagree As a child of the south, I grew up hearing all the Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox stories and they have not damaged me or caused me to be an evil racially hateful woman I consider when they were written and realize that the stories are wonderfully imaginative and teach a moral lesson at the heart of each one I remember seeing the movie Uncle Remus in the theater when I was a child I did not care what color he was I loved the stories The stories could have been told by a purple alien with ten eyes and I still would have loved the stories.Having said that I love this book My children have the stories and they love them They always have loved the tar baby story and wanted me to read it every night If you are interested in colorful stories that are sometimes a little hard to decipher if you don t know how to listen in your head to the dialogue, then please check this one out while you can


  2. Jennifer Jennifer says:

    Interesting readI ve wanted to pick this up for some time, I m glad I finally did The book took some getting used to as the dialect is difficult to read straight from the page I found myself whisper reading to make sense of what was on the page Unfortunately I feel like I missed some of the tales due to the fact that the dialect wasn t easy to decipher I know there is controversy around this book, but the language seems fitting for the time it was produced The fact that this was written all Interesting readI ve wanted to pick this up for some time, I m glad I finally did The book took some getting used to as the dialect is difficult to read straight from the page I found myself whisper reading to make sense of what was on the page Unfortunately I feel like I missed some of the tales due to the fact that the dialect wasn t easy to decipher I know there is controversy around this book, but the language seems fitting for the time it was produced The fact that this was written allows these oral tales to not be lost for coming generations


  3. Robin Robin says:

    I loved this book and although I ve seen portions of the movie here in the states I don t think I ve ever seen the whole thing and last I heard never will Its sad if you ask me because it depends on what you choose to focus on and if you focus on the fact it places slavery in a good light which I ve heard some say it does then yeah that s not good But if you decide to focus on the relationship that children who happen to be white have with Uncle Remus who happens to be black sort of a Grandfa I loved this book and although I ve seen portions of the movie here in the states I don t think I ve ever seen the whole thing and last I heard never will Its sad if you ask me because it depends on what you choose to focus on and if you focus on the fact it places slavery in a good light which I ve heard some say it does then yeah that s not good But if you decide to focus on the relationship that children who happen to be white have with Uncle Remus who happens to be black sort of a Grandfather figure is what I got then its a good movie Lets focus on the book shall we, if you ve ever heard of Bre r Rabbit and the Tar Baby then that s just one of the stories in this book According to the Introduction this is a collection of Stories passed down by Negroes in the South and to preserve the original simplicity its written in dialect or rather its written the way the ones telling the stories tend to pronounce words, the author comments about the fact it may not actually qualify as a dialect Reading in dialect can sometimes be a bit confusing but if done well it adds to the story Uncle Remus is definitely a fun read one I highly recommend if you ve heard any of the Bre r Animal tells that Disney has done and enjoyed them


  4. Garrett Cash Garrett Cash says:

    As Uncle Remus says about his brand of syrup, Dis sho am good Joel Chandler Harris Uncle Remus His Songs and Sayings is a fascinating read that splits opinions like no other On the one hand you have people saying things like As the racial stereotypes of the nineteenth century are inappropriate today and may be offensive to many contemporary readers, we have eliminated Uncle Remus Then you have the other side saying Uncle Remus is revealed as a secret hero of Joel Chandle As Uncle Remus says about his brand of syrup, Dis sho am good Joel Chandler Harris Uncle Remus His Songs and Sayings is a fascinating read that splits opinions like no other On the one hand you have people saying things like As the racial stereotypes of the nineteenth century are inappropriate today and may be offensive to many contemporary readers, we have eliminated Uncle Remus Then you have the other side saying Uncle Remus is revealed as a secret hero of Joel Chandler Harris s work, a figure wholly worthy of comparison with Brer Rabbit himself In creating him, Harris put forward, covertly, by extraordinarily oblique means, a vision that would have shocked and horrified the great majority of his readers, had they understood him Robert Cochran Professor of English and Director of the Center for Arkansas and Regional Studies at the University of Arkansas.Which one of these opinions is the correct one Is Uncle Remus a nostalgic look at the happy old plantation negro Or is he a remarkably nuanced character who consistently subverted white authority and Old South social codes That would the opposite of a racial stereotype right This argument has already been made to perfection on the Wren s Nest blog in an article titled Everything You Know About Uncle Remus is Wrong Now for the quality of the book itself Mark Twain loved them so much he read them to his children and at his book readings He said that the Wonderful Tar Baby Story was the most popular the links in this review are to the online text of the actual stories That s quite an endorsement Children s literature analyst John Goldthwaite argues that the Uncle Remus tales are irrefutably the central event in the making of modern children s story Harris s influence on British children s writers such as Kipling, Milne, Potter, Burgess and Blyton is substantial His influence on modernism is less overt, but also evident in the works of Pound, Eliot, Joyce, and Faulkner Reading the stories is somewhat challenging due to the dialect which can get the reader lost in the vernacular It s best to read these stories aloud, where one can savor Harris genius way of the word and not get lost Some of these stories are actually quite violent and shocking This is no revelation to fans of folk tales, but it s still a bit baffling considering Uncle Remus s popularity as children s literature The main stories in question are those that involve Brer Rabbit killing one of his rivals One gets the idea from Disney s Song of the South that Brer Rabbit is just a happy go lucky trickster who just likes to pull a prank In Harris s stories Brer Rabbit comes off as a horrible jerk, who causes the deaths of at least four of the characters that I can remember in the stories The saddest one of these is Brer Possum in Mr Rabbit Nibbles Up the Butter Brer Rabbit steals all of the butter and frames Brer Possum Brer Possum suggests that they build a fire, and whoever can t jump over it is the chap who stole the butter I m not quite sure why Brer Possum would suggest such a thing that would be incredibly easy for the Fox and Rabbit Unfortunately Brer Possum doesn t make it and he lands right in the middle of the fier and dies The way the Fox dies is possibly the most bizarre, but I won t spoil it Reading these stories now, while still being hilarious, are still hard to read with a politically correct modern mind I find it easier to read these stories being that I am a native English speaker, a historian, and someone who doesn t think the intention of the stories was to be racist in any way If you are anything but these things, I would just stick to trying out the Wonderful Tar Baby Story and How Mr Rabbit was too sharp for Mr Fox You ll get the big picture While Harris s dialect may be difficult for themodern mind, for those that can enjoy these stories they are really quite a treat Words like seegyar cigar and kyarving knife carving knife are fun not only for their comic value but for reveling in Harris s creativity in getting all of these words on paper The songs are good, the sayings are a bit boring and uninteresting really Uncle Remus may not be for everyone, but there are certainly those who will enjoy hearing the tales of Brer Rabbit and his company Uncle Remus His Songs and Saying is a learning experience for anyone young and old.4.5


  5. Maria Maria says:

    I was curious to read this, particularly in light of Alice Walker s assertion that these stories made her ashamed to be black I get it, but the stories, songs I think the author meant well I was curious to read this, particularly in light of Alice Walker s assertion that these stories made her ashamed to be black I get it, but the stories, songs sayings are interesting from the perspective of a certain time place viewpoint I think the author meant well


  6. Thomas Umstattd Jr. Thomas Umstattd Jr. says:

    If you can get past the politically incorrect language, there is a lot of wisdom in these simple stories.


  7. Helen Helen says:

    This is a charming collection of stories of talking animals especially Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox that get into various scrapes, similar to Aesop s Fables, told by old Uncle Remus to a little boy long ago in the mythical South The illustrations are great This is the book for anyone who s ever wondered about the clever Brer Rabbit similar to Roadrunner or the Rascally Rabbit cartoon characters in evading capture Readers of any age will enjoy it A few words about each story hopefully witho This is a charming collection of stories of talking animals especially Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox that get into various scrapes, similar to Aesop s Fables, told by old Uncle Remus to a little boy long ago in the mythical South The illustrations are great This is the book for anyone who s ever wondered about the clever Brer Rabbit similar to Roadrunner or the Rascally Rabbit cartoon characters in evading capture Readers of any age will enjoy it A few words about each story hopefully without totally giving away each story s plot Brer Fox invites Brer Rabbit to dinner The Fox is constantly trying to figure out ways to nab the Rabbit and thus turn him into dinner This is yet another instance of the Fox s faulty plotting this time, he pretends to be sick, but the Rabbit sees right through the ruse The wonderful interactions among the animal community mirroring the human tendency to gossip is part of this and many other of the Brer Rabbit stories The Wonderful Tar Baby This is the famous story of the Fox once again trying to catch the rabbit Although Brer Fox does create a wonderful tar baby, to which the Rabbit gets stuck, in the next story, The Briar Patch The Rabbit as usual manages to out smart the fox in a very droll, entertaining way In The Story of the Flood, a number of crayfish begin protesting because the elephant has inadvertently flattened a few crayfish by stepping on them That was when creatures like the crayfish, the mud turtle and the lizards began boring into the ground to get away from the land animals Brer Fox and Old Man Terrapin The Fox comes upon the Terrapin and thinks to make a meal of the turtle Once again, Brer Fox is out smarted Brer Wolf makes a Failure In this story, Brer Wolf conspires with Brer Fox to catch Brer Rabbit once and for all However, the Rabbit once again sees through the ploy and manages to evade becoming the dinner of the wolf and fox The Fox this time plays dead in order to lure the Rabbit into his home, but the Rabbit sees through the plot The Sad Fate of Brer Wolf In this story, the Wolf has been raiding Brer Rabbit s home regularly and making off with Rabbit s children, one by one, each time he raids the ramshackle structure Finally, Rabbit is determined to build a solid home, from which the wolf cannot snatch anybaby rabbits and hires beavers to do the work of laying a stone foundation upon which to build a plank home He even builds a basement room to which the children can escape, if there is a break in by the Wolf Sure enough, the Wolf does get into the house, by means of a ruse he thinks is clever However, Brer Rabbit again outsmarts the Wolf tea time for the Wolf wasthan energizing, and the Wolf will probably never try to raid Brer Rabbit s home again Brer Rabbit Finds his Match at Last Brer Terrapin s family all of whom look like one another teams up to ensure Brer Terrapin wins the foot race with Brer Rabbit and the 50 prize money Moral of the story Animals started cheating and then it spread to humans Advice of Uncle Remus to little boy mind your eye, honey, that somebody don t cheat you before you is as old as me A Story about the Little Rabbits A story about Brer Fox dropping by Brer Rabbit s house one day when both parents were away, and despite all his efforts to nab the little rabbits, he once again fails A little bird gives helpful hints to the little rabbits and then Brer Rabbit himself shows up A Dollar a Minute Brer Rabbit is finally trapped by a rope trap Brer Fox has set up near his peanut patch But the rabbit manages to escape by convincing Brer Bear to take his place in the air, since he is supposedly making a dollar a minute protecting the peanuts Brer Rabbit then gets Brer Fox and Brer Fox to start fighting each other as he once again evades the fox and bear by impersonating a frog in a mud hole when Brer Bear comes along looking for Brer Rabbit Brer Rabbit spills the Honey Brer Rabbit ransacks the home of Brer Bear while the bear family is out Unfortunately the rabbit knocks over a bucket of honey and becomes totally drenched in the sticky fluid He tries to get the honey off his body by rolling around in the woods but the leaves just keep sticking to him He creates a sensation in his suit of leaves even frightening off the entire Bear family, Brer Fox and Brer Wolf Brer Rabbit frightens his neighbors Brer Rabbit goes to town to buy tin cups, plates and a tea pot in exchange for his peanut crop However, his arch enemies, Brer Fox and Brer Wolf, conspire to ambush the rabbit on his return Brer Rabbit is tipped off to the trap by a tiny woodpecker and decides to frighten his would be assailants by rigging himself up with the tin plates, cups and tea pot The frightened fox and wolf take to their heels when confronted with the clanging creature Why Brer Bear has no tail A story about Brer Terrapin and Mr Mud Turtle sliding down an inclined moss covered rock to amuse themselves as Brer Rabbit looks on Then Brer Bear happens upon the trio and decides to join in the fun basically on a dare unfortunately, his tail is too long to slide down the rock, and that is why bears have no tail ouch


  8. Lani Lani says:

    I had read a few of the Brer Rabbit stories as a kid this collection included not just the Brer Animal stories, but also all of the eventerribly offensive Uncle Tom stories of Uncle Remus I have an affection for the Brer stories, and also see some value in their place as American Aesop s Fables Morality tales couched in animal form that are fun, silly, and still a little creepy.That said, the collection is difficult to read due to the dialect, and once you ve made it through the chi I had read a few of the Brer Rabbit stories as a kid this collection included not just the Brer Animal stories, but also all of the eventerribly offensive Uncle Tom stories of Uncle Remus I have an affection for the Brer stories, and also see some value in their place as American Aesop s Fables Morality tales couched in animal form that are fun, silly, and still a little creepy.That said, the collection is difficult to read due to the dialect, and once you ve made it through the children s stories, you get bogged down in old negro hymns andfolksy wisdom from Uncle Remus These stories are evencringe inducing to the modern ear and include jokes hinging on Uncle Remus s love of watermelon and his support of his white family, his former masters I haven t studied the time period enough to say whether the book offers any historical value If it is an accurate chronicle of some experience for example if the stories, songs, and wisdom are actually black folktales that are not written elsewhere then I can appreciate the book Unfortunately, I thinkof it is a white washed idealized black existence based around stereotypes that were only perpetuated by this book becoming a classic That s a shame particularly because I think that it diminishes the Brer stories As some have suggested again, not sure if this is entirely accurate , many of the stories themselves are reflective of plantation life and storytelling, but the encompassing story of Uncle Remus is the creation of Joel Chandler Harris In that case there is also some concern with a white author co opting these tales to be packaged, sold, and branded as his creations for posterity The whole book suffers from its history and it makes even the simplest stories an uncomfortable read when considering the context


  9. Jen Julian Jen Julian says:

    I read this for my grad level folklore class, so my approach to the book was predominantly critical However, I was surprised by the intricacy of the tales and genuinely enjoyed many of them Brer Rabbit is an authentic Afro American figure, evolved from the the trickster hare character of African folktales Slaves found revolutionary recourse embodied in this ever cunning underdog Brer Rabbit is no goody goody he is possibly one of the first real bad asses to grace the American folklore canon I read this for my grad level folklore class, so my approach to the book was predominantly critical However, I was surprised by the intricacy of the tales and genuinely enjoyed many of them Brer Rabbit is an authentic Afro American figure, evolved from the the trickster hare character of African folktales Slaves found revolutionary recourse embodied in this ever cunning underdog Brer Rabbit is no goody goody he is possibly one of the first real bad asses to grace the American folklore canon.Nevertheless, while the folktales themselves are valuable in terms of their authenticity, the character of Uncle Remus, ultimately a construction of white author Joel Chandler Harris, delivered a gift wrapped stereotype that mainstream American culture has yet to shake off For Reconstruction era white Southerners, who were anxious about reprisal from freed black slaves, Uncle Remus hit a serious sweet spot Remus doesn t want retribution for hundreds of years of oppression All he wants to do is perform menial labor and tell stories to white children In fact, he looks back nostalgically on his slavery days He has nothing but praise for his former masters Much of the reason Remus became popular was his ability to magically alleviate white America s fear and guilt.In all, this book is a fascinating and problematic artifact of its time It may have done a service by bringing these folktales into the mainstream, but its framework including the Uncle Remus character and his cultural context should be read with critical and historical awareness


  10. Claire Claire says:

    I really wanted to give this book a higher rating than just three stars The folk tales themselves are wonderful and culturally significant classic trickster tales that, to quote the introduction by Robert Hemenway, symbolically inverted the slave master relationship and satisfied the deep human needs of a captive people Brer Rabbit is a survivor, the Fabled Hare, a symbol of endurance and the triumph of the underdog over his big brutish oppressors In other words, NOT RACIST.However, Joel I really wanted to give this book a higher rating than just three stars The folk tales themselves are wonderful and culturally significant classic trickster tales that, to quote the introduction by Robert Hemenway, symbolically inverted the slave master relationship and satisfied the deep human needs of a captive people Brer Rabbit is a survivor, the Fabled Hare, a symbol of endurance and the triumph of the underdog over his big brutish oppressors In other words, NOT RACIST.However, Joel Harris did not understand the deeper meaning of these stories, and only saw Brer Rabbit s misadventures as silly nonsensical tales meant only to entertain children He stripped these classic figures of almost all of their dignity, bogging down their words with that atrocious pidgin speak and cutesifying them almost beyond recognition.However, in spite of all the pidgin speak and the extremely outdated insulting framing device of an ex slave storyteller who actually didn t think being a slave was all that bad Brer Rabbit is not a racist character, but Uncle Remus most certainly is , my three star rating still stands In spite of Harris s bastardization and complete misunderstanding of the importance of these stories, the stories themselves still manage to retain some of their dignity Again, Brer Rabbit is a survivor, and the universal appeal of the conquering Trickster Hero shines through, even through the mess of Joel Chandler Harris s post Civil War racism


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