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Unformatted text preview: Davis and Barbara Foley focus on different influences Toomer had while writing his novel. In their respective essays, Davis and Foley describe the most influential factors to Toomer when he wrote Cane . In Davis’ essay “Jean Toomer and the South: Region and Race as Elements within a Literary Imagination,” he discusses how geographic location ultimately altered the way Cane was written. More precisely, Toomer’s experience in the South had a large influence on the development of Cane, and its portrayal of the African American race. Barbara Foley takes on quite a different stance in this debate. In her essay “Jean Toomer’s Washington and the Politics of Class: From ‘Blue Veins’ to Seventh- Street Rebels,” she argues that the key point missing from many people’s discussion of the novel is social class. Foley goes in depth describing Toomer’s socioeconomic background from his childhood to the time that Toomer wrote Cane . She uses this to propel her argument that class was the most influential to Cane . Although both of these scholars provide valid arguments, they fail to acknowledge other possible factors that influenced Toomer’s writing. More importantly, Davis and Foley ignore the biggest 83 Jung influence on Cane : other authors and their work. Charles Scruggs, on the other hand, accurately describes this influence in his essay “Textuality and Vision in Jean Toomer’s Cane,” arguing that Toomer’s relationships with other authors displayed the largest impact on Cane as a whole. According to Scruggs, the entire structure of Cane was inspired by Waldo Frank’s novel City Block and to some extent, Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio. Yet, despite Scruggs’ novel, we still lack the reason as to why Toomer chose the circular structure in the end. Toomer wanted to prove how African American suffering didn’t end slavery being over. To him, the past was still very much a part of the present. The circularity of Cane works because it fits the theme and overall message of the novel itself. Before diving into the separate texts, background information about Toomer, specifically his living environment when he wrote Cane, his socioeconomic status, and the relationships that he had with other writers, need to be explored. Toomer was originally born in Washington D.C., though his parents were born in Georgia. Shortly after his birth, his parents separated and Toomer moved to New York to live with his grandparents and his mother. After his mother died in 1909, Toomer went back to Washington to live with his uncle. In the following six years, Toomer attended multiple universities but failed to complete his studies at all of them. Despite this, Toomer was able to begin his writing in 1918, which was also when he moved back and forth between New York, Milwaukee, and Chicago. Three short years later, in 1921, Jean Toomer briefly lived in Georgia for three months to serve as an acting principal at a school....
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- Spring '08
- Winesburg, Ohio, SON-9