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She believes that toomer grew up surrounded by a

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She believes that Toomer grew up surrounded by a mixture of “snobbery and social activism”. His experiences among this elite crowd had a large impact on his writings and how they portray racial issues (Foley 314-315). Foley argues that Toomer was largely influenced because he accepted his socioeconomic status to be part of who he was. He called his class “my aristocracy” (Foley 323). But the key part of her argument is how Toomer’s lifestyle affected Cane. She continues on in her essay as she describes how the second section of Toomer’s novel represents the racial issues surrounding the elite society that Toomer grew up in. She uses “Bona and Paul” as one example of his point. She states, that “Bona and Paul” “gains a crucial historical dimension when read as commentary…on the increasing segregation of public facilities in the world in which Toomer attained maturity” (Foley 331). The part of the story she focuses on is when Paul and Bona try to get into a club in Chicago. Paul tries to fight against segregation in this particular story as he tells the doorman that he is not distinguishing between black and white faces by using a metaphor to petals, “white faces are petals of roses. That dark faces are petals of dusk. I am going out and gather petals” (Toomer 78). Foley sees this story as Toomer attempting to comment on how racial identification should not be
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77 Jung necessary in social contexts. She follows up the example of “Bona and Paul” with the short story “Avey”. Foley argues that in “Avey”, Toomer creates the image of an egocentric male that results from living in this elite society. According to Foley, “the narrator’s smug approach to Avey is thus inseparable from a sense of class privilege” (332). She believes that class had a large impact on the way racial issues were approached in Cane and Toomer came to these conclusions through his own personal experience. To her, class matters as much as race does when discussing Cane . However, similar to Davis, Foley doesn’t mention any other influences that could have affected Toomer and his writing. Although her argument is well supported by the second section of the novel, she fails to find connections between Toomer’s socioeconomic status the first and third part of Cane. One influence Davis and Foley fail to mention is other writers that Toomer had close relations with. Throughout his writing career, Toomer exposed himself to various styles of writing through reading and interacting with other authors. He mentions in an autobiographical piece, “ I was reading only literary works. This was the period when I was so strongly influenced…Robert Frost’s New England poems strongly appealed to me. Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio opened my eyes to entirely new possibilities” (Toomer 127). The works of literature that these authors produced guided Toomer in his own writings. Charles Scruggs highlights specifically the influence of Waldo Frank and Sherwood Anderson on Toomer’s novel. They were among Toomer’s closest friends and
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