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American race in the south through the beauty of

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Unformatted text preview: American race in the South through the beauty of their land, the spirit that they had and the songs that they sung. Davis argues that this was one of the most critical points in 57 Jung Toomer’s life because it strongly changed the way the South was illustrated in his novel. It leads to Davis’s ultimate claim that “Toomer chose to be black” (252). His reasoning for this conclusion is that Toomer’s experience with the South was not something out of his control. He came upon his opinion by mere discovery and this alone gives him the choice to identify with the African Americans present there. However, Toomer produced his own definition and description of the South, one that was “more beautiful…more complicated…and more deeply human” (Davis 252). This “new South” that Toomer created ultimately reflected an African American perspective so Davis assumes that Toomer wanted to see himself as an African American. Yet, the most important aspect of Davis’s argument is its connection to Toomer’s Cane. Davis mentions how the South that Toomer creates, both in his mind and in the text of Cane , exemplifies a consciousness of the narrator in the particular story. In the “Song of the Son”, this consciousness is a “sophisticated intelligence yearning for completion…and finding the means for achieving [this] in contact with the South and the newly discovered black culture” (Davis 255). But in the case of “Karintha” and “Carma”, the consciousness “is responsible for the sympathy and understanding expressed” by these two characters (Davis 255). Davis is arguing that the context of the South helps us understand the real emotions and experiences of Toomer’s characters. Davis goes further in saying that two different regions, the North and the South, were necessary in Toomer’s writing. This created the overall design of Cane to be a circle. He discusses how in Cane, the African Americans from the North wanted the “emotional strengths” that the African Americans in the South possessed (Davis 256). This connection between the two regions forms the design of Toomer’s novel. According to Davis, Toomer would not have been able to construct this 58 image of the South without his experience there and his ability to accept the African American culture. With his new discovery, Toomer “was able to construct a pattern of life which contrasted with what he had seen about him in…the North” (Davis 260). The understanding that Toomer got from temporarily living in the South gave him a positive outlook on the Southern African American race, which he displays throughout Cane . This gives Davis the impression that Toomer is identifying with the African American population. Barbara Foley takes on a slightly more different stance. She acknowledges that race is a large aspect of discussion in terms of Cane and Jean Toomer. However, she points out a flaw in other critics’ analyses. She believes that Toomer’s socioeconomic status had a large influence on Toomer’s novel, and that it has been taken out of the discussion even though it is an essential element. Foley states, “recoupling race with classdiscussion even though it is an essential element....
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American race in the South through the beauty of their land...

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