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Distinguishing between black and white faces by using

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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 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.
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6 According to Foley, “the narrator’s smug approach to Avey is thus inseparable from a sense of class privilege” (332). She believes the narrator’s view on Avey is directly correlated with his social background. Through this story, Toomer displays how social status changes our interpretation of Cane . Specifically, 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 . Despite their arguments, Davis and Foley fail to mention the influence other writers had on Toomer. Davis glosses over a key fact in Toomer’s personal history: Toomer did not write all of Cane while he was in Georgia. “Bona and Paul,” the first story Toomer wrote for Cane , was completed in 1918, three years prior to Toomer moving to the South (Byrd and Gates 446). Additionally, the entire second section of the novel, which includes “Bona and Paul,” takes place in the North. Toomer wouldn’t have been able to write this section if he didn’t expose himself to life in the city. By the same token, before moving down South, Toomer also developed close relationships with other authors, including Waldo Frank. Regardless of the South affecting the prose in the first part of the book, Davis doesn’t account for the second part, and misses an important detail in his analysis. Similar to Davis, Foley also 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 is unsuccessful in connecting Toomer’s socioeconomic status with the first and third part of Cane. Most obviously, the first and third sections of Cane are set in the rural South. Also, in the first part specifically, racial oppression is not evident as it is in “Bona and Paul.” Most of the stories in part one of
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7 Jung Cane display the grotesque lives of women, yet not all of these women are specifically African American. “Karintha” portrays the story of a woman who killed her own baby and lived with the guilt from her actions. Her skin is described as the “dusk on the eastern horizon…when the sun goes down” (Toomer 5). From this line, we can interpret Karintha to be mixed. The next story, “Becky,” is about a white woman who had two African American sons and was ostracized by society because of it. The white population was not the only ones to shun her, but by her fellow African Americans did as well, “the white
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