Framework in The Goophered Grapevine
The frame narrative in Charles W. Chesnutt's The Goophered Grapevine creates a hidden tension between the viewpoints of the internal narrator's voice and the voice of the external narrator. Uncle Julius McAdoo is Chesnutt's internal narrator, and serves a storyteller in the story. He exemplifies the characteristics of a former slave such as being uneducated and unable to speak Standard English. Julius is old, poor, and uneducated. These characteristics set him up as being a person that lacks credibility. However, early on in the story Julius claims his credibility as a storyteller by saying "Day ain' na'er a man in dis settlement w' at won' tell you ole Julius McAdoo' uz bawn en raise on dis yer same plantation", (N: pg. 526). This statement informs the external narrator of Julius' history with the plantation. The external narrator is John whom plans to buy the vineyard. His characteristics include being young, wealthy, and educated.
Julius has been making profit off of the vineyard for many years. He has claimed this vineyard as his territory and uses fictional stories as a means to scare others from the land. He also uses this land as a means for survival. On the other hand, John had learned that North Carolina was a great state to cultivate grapes, and his main goal was to move there to cultivate grapes while aiding in the improvement of his wife's health. He had already observed the condition of the vineyard and was confident that he could restore its productivity. The conflict of territory is present here.
The incongruity of the internal narrator and the external narrator is the element that sets up the tension between the two characters. They both interact with each other cordially and respectfully. However, there is a presence of internal arrogance between the two narrators. John thinks of himself as smarter than Julius because he (Julius) is old, poor, and uneducated while Julius thinks he can out smart John because he's younger, wealthier, and lacks knowledge of the area.
Julius is extremely good at storytelling because he...