This novel centrally addresses the relationships between whites and African-Americans in the post-Civil War South. Their mulatto mother, on the other hand, is of darker skin and is completely illiterate. Rena agrees to marry George, but is anxious that he will discover her African American heritage. Mandy Oxendine Paul Marchand, F. Even Molly Walden, who is of mixed race, and thus would not have any personal issues with African-Americans, acknowledges the ridiculousness of choosing to live as a black person if given the opportunity to be white. Although the novel was critically well received, its controversy contributed to poor financial performance. Rather than being repulsed by the idea of a successful mulatto lawyer, he encourages John to move away and pretend to be white. The House Behind the Cedars was originally a short story called "Rena", and only after several revisions and converting the manuscript into a novel was it accepted by Houghton Mifflin in Tryon visits Rena's colored schoolhouse and is the first white woman to do so offering to assist with the school and taking interest in the students and the nobility of Rena's educating them.
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