Paul does not specify which petals he is referring to

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petals” (Toomer 78). Paul does not specify which petals he is referring to which assumes that he is talking about them as a collective group. Foley continues on and makes a key point that “Bona and Paul” was the first story ever written by Toomer and that it displays “[Toomer]’s profound resentment of the increasingly oppressive social practices” (331). This shows how Toomer’s social background ultimately changed the message behind his stories and his portrayal of these messages. According to Foley, race is not the only issue that Toomer is pointing out in Cane ; socioeconomic status has a key part in it too. His interpretation of race and how it was dealt with was a result of his awareness of a class
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60 system. Davis and Foley both present concrete arguments in how different aspects of Toomer’s life affected his writing of Cane . Yet, their arguments lack the grasp of Toomer’s ultimate goal. He did not want his work to be characteristic of an African American, but racially ambiguous. Toomer felt that it was unimportant to the reader whether Toomer was African American or not. To some extent, this holds true for his novel because his text appears to be vague in providing a definite stance on race. Yet, it is hard to judge whether or not Toomer did actually succeed in hiding any racial implications in Cane . There is no doubt that race is present in his text but Toomer’s depictions of it remain too ambiguous. In the first section of Cane alone, there is speculation to the race of the women that the stories are about. The stories of women illustrate ones of oppression and isolation. However, not all of the women are presented as African American so one cannot make the generalization that only African American women were victim to this kind of treatment. The very first story in the novel, “Karintha” is about a woman who killed her own baby and suffered from the guilt. But she is described as “Her skin is like dusk on the eastern horizon…when the sun goes down” (Toomer 5). The sun sets on the west, so the eastern horizon is relatively dark. However there is some sense of light, which provides the assumption that Karintha is a mixed race. The next story, “Becky” tells the tale of a “white woman who had two Negro sons” and her isolation from the rest of the population because of it (Toomer 9). Between these two stories alone, the troubles of the women are not at all linked to their race because both of them are two different races. “Blood-Burning Moon” also displays the ambiguity of race in Toomer’s novel. This story is about a woman, Louisa, who has relations with both a
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61 Jung white and African American man. At the end of the story, Tom Burwell, her African American lover kills Bob Stone, yet Tom gets lynched for killing Bob. Through this story, Toomer shows that no race has dominance over another. Even though the white population was able to lynch Tom Burwell, he was successful in killing one of their people as well. Toomer’s depictions of race throughout Cane make it hard to distinguish which race he was identifying with. In addition, because Toomer does bring attention to
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