Davis goes further to say that this consciousness is

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understand the real emotions and experiences of Toomer’s characters. Davis goes further to say that this consciousness is also responsible for the circular design of Cane . Toomer “sees the necessity for regional connection, for the Northern black to acquire the emotional strengths that black Southerners still possess” (Davis 256). The circular
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75 Jung movement of the consciousness progresses from North to South to North. It begins with “Bona and Paul” in Chicago, moving to the South in “Kabnis” and then returns back to the North in “Box Seat” and “Harvest Song”. As Davis explains: We begin with ‘Bona and Paul’…frustration, then, is accompanied by the intimation of a new connection, ‘awakening’…’Kabnis’ is the direct confrontation with what it means to be black in the South…the progress of consciousness moves next to the North where city realities are weighed against Southern black strength (Davis 257-8). The cultural strength and spirit that Toomer exposed himself to in the South had a clear impact on the way Toomer wrote Cane . Although this may be true, Davis fails to mention other plausible influences. He glosses over a key fact in Toomer’s personal history: Toomer did not write all of Cane while he was in Georgia. Also, before Toomer lived in the South for that brief period, he met many authors with whom he was close. Davis simply doesn’t consider the other aspects of Toomer’s life that inspired him to write Can e in the way that he did. Another influence on Toomer and Cane , as Foley argues, was Toomer’s socioeconomic status. Toomer’s grandfather, Pinckney Pinchback was a very prominent figure in the African American community. He “was a captain in the second regiment of Louisiana’s Native Guard…the first black lieutenant governor of Louisiana…even served as the Acting Governor” (Byrd and Gates xxii-xxiii). Because of his grandfather’s high- ranking status, Toomer lived a very elitist life. When he lived in Washington D.C., Toomer was “among Washington’s aristocrats of color” (Foley 320). During that time, the upper class of African Americans did not entirely fit in well with the rest of society. They
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76 wanted to be brought into the white society but struggled because of their skin color. But, they also failed to be accepted into the rest of the African American population. This clearly impacted Toomer and eventually impacted the depiction of city life in Cane . Barbara Foley’s main argument centers on the idea that class is generally taken out of critics’ discussion of Cane . She finds this to be problematic, “I shall stress here… an issue that is often obscured in discussions of Toomer’s attitudes toward and conceptions of race – namely, the imprint left by his consciousness of class” (Foley 314).
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