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WR150 Portfolio

Part of her essay foley describes the elite society

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part of her essay, Foley describes the elite society that was present in Washington D.C. during the time Toomer was writing. She also mentions the socialist movement, arguing that it impacted Toomer as well. Foley connects Toomer’s socialist views with the stories in Cane , specifically the second part. The stories in Cane display the social segregation issues that come hand in hand with the racial issues in the city. Foley’s argument differs from Davis’ as they take on two different approaches when analyzing Toomer’s text. Barbara Foley is an English professor at Rutgers-Newark. She has written and published three novels, along with various articles. Currently, she is working on two novels that deal with African American writers and the Left. One of those novels is about Jean Toomer. Helbling, Mark. “Sherwood Anderson and Jean Toomer”. Negro American Literature Forum. 9.2 (1975). 35-9. Web. 9 April 2013. In this brief essay, Helbling discusses a rather personal relationship between Jean Toomer and Sherwood Anderson. He discusses how Anderson tried to understand the cultural and social aspects of African Americans. Most importantly, it stressed
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98 Anderson’s multiple attempts at convincing Toomer he was indeed African American and not white. Anderson believed that Cane was the perfect representation of the “American Black” (qtd. in Helbling). Furthermore, Helbling also mentions how Anderson’s inability to connect with Toomer was due to his opinions and knowledge of African Americans as a whole. I was unable to find personal information on Helbling. However, he does have an extensive literary criticism background because he has written many other articles for several journals. A large majority of his writing is about African American culture and people. He especially writes a lot about significant African American authors such as Toomer, Alain Locke and Claude McKay. Lutenski, Emily. "A Small Man in Big Spaces: The New Negro, the Mestizo, and Jean Toomer's Southwestern Writing." Cane: Authoritative Texts, Contexts, Criticism . Ed. Rudolph P. Byrd and Henry L. Gates, Jr. 2nd ed. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2011. 418-39. Print. In her essay, Lutenski describes a photograph of Toomer in New Mexico, a setting that is not reflected in any of his writings or much in any biographical information about him. She explores the differences in Toomer’s writing when he was in the Southwest as opposed to Georgia, New York, and Chicago. Lutenski says that there are two different Toomers: pre- Cane and post- Cane . The main point of her argument is that there is a connection between race and location. She mentions how Toomer’s experiences in the Southwest influenced his view on race and the idea of being mixed. Emily Lutenski is a professor of English at Saint Louis University. She has published one book as well as several articles in different
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99 Jung literary journals. She studies twentieth century American literature with a focus on different ethnic groups and cultures. Her evaluation of Toomer and his influences is fair and she provides a detailed amount of evidence to support her claims.
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