9 jung specifically his mother he cant seem to

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9 Jung specifically his mother. He can’t seem to express his feelings to her. Even when they are in the same room, his mother and George struggle to start a conversation, “In the evening when the son sat in the room with his mother, the silence made them both feel awkward” (Anderson 17). However, as the novel progresses, George drastically changes on an emotional level. His relationships with women in particular, change because he is eventually able to express his emotions to them. “An Awakening” displays George’s affection towards Belle Carpenter. He exhibits stronger emotions towards her as opposed to his mother, “George Willard’s heart began to beat rapidly…suddenly he decided that Belle Carpenter was about surrender herself to him…the thought made him half drunk with the sense of masculine power” (Anderson 103). Finally by the end of the novel, George matures fully. He is more aware of his emotions and controls them in a sophisticated manner. As Anderson describes in his penultimate story “Sophistication”, “In youth there are always two forces fighting in people…and the older, the more sophisticated thing had possession of George” (134). George has clearly grown up since his relationship with his mother. The growth George experiences makes the linear progression of the novel seem accurate. But in Cane , a circular design fits better with its theme of race and oppression. By exploring “Kabnis”, the last section of Toomer’s novel, it is clear to see that despite the end of slavery, racial oppression still exists in the South and that not much has changed since then. Kabnis, a teacher from the North comes to the South to try to preach but he fears the white population. He thinks that they are going to kill him because he’s from the North. Kabnis says, “God Almighty, theyre here. After me. On me” (qtd. in Toomer 91). If discrimination didn’t exist in the South, then Kabnis would have no reason to be
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10 scared. In addition, Kabnis’ two friends, Layman and Halsey, tell him about the lynching of Mame Lamkins. They tell him, “They killed her in th street…took an ripped her bell open, an th kid fell out…jabbed his knife in it an stuck it t a tree” (Toomer 90). This gruesome account of an African American woman’s death provides further evidence that the effects of slavery are still present in the South. The fact that no change occurred since the past proves the circular design of Cane that Toomer intended. The final structure of Toomer’s novel resulted from his interactions with Frank and Anderson and worked best with the message Toomer wanted to convey. Overall, many aspects affected Toomer and his writings. On the one hand, as Davis suggests, Toomer’s experience while living in the South profoundly influenced his opinion on the African American culture. On the other hand, Foley offers another possibility of Toomer’s social status being the most important factor in Toomer’s writing.
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Christopher Reinemann
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