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On the surface it is a novel about the jealous persecution of a beautiful mulatto slave by her mistress,
Around that sultry, slowly burning episode Miss Cather has created
the fabric of three clashing ways of life: the way of those who believe in slavery, the way of those who do not, and the way of the slaves themselves.
Miss Cather's triumph
is that she has been able to write a fine novel about slavery and the South in which the Civil War itself is dropped out as an irrelevance to her work of art.