They were among toomers closest friends and had the

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Sherwood Anderson on Toomer’s novel. They were among Toomer’s closest friends and had the most profound effect on his writing. As Scruggs mentions, Frank had the “greater influence on Toomer” as the design of Frank’s novel City Block inspired the circular structure of Cane (Scruggs 277). Toomer saw potential in Frank’s design as a way to
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78 express his own views. Toomer appealed to “Frank’s pursuit of spiritual wholeness” and he wanted to accomplish the same theme in his own novel (Scruggs 282). In letters that he continually sent to Waldo Frank, Toomer discussed the progression of Cane as he was writing it. In one particular letter, sent on December 12, 1922, Toomer mentions how Cane ’s design is a circle. From the point of view of the spiritual entity behind the work, the curve really starts with Bona and Paul…plunges into Kabnis, emerges in Karintha etc. swings upward into Theatre and Box Seat, and ends in Harvest Song” (Toomer 162-163). This mirrors Frank’s design in City Block, which allowed Toomer to write a narrative that ended where it started. Despite Frank’s major influence on Toomer, Anderson also gave him insight on how Cane should be written. Toomer found limitations in Anderson’s writings and tried to go beyond them as he wrote Cane . But, in Scruggs’ discussion he falls short when describing the works of Anderson and Toomer. The designs of Winesburg, Ohio and Cane are obviously different. While in Anderson’s novel there is a clear linear progression with a central character, Toomer’s novel has a circular design without a main protagonist. As mentioned earlier, Scruggs hints at this in his essay. However, he fails to mention why this design for Cane worked for the overall theme of the novel. Winesburg, Ohio follows the life of George Willard and his relationships with various people in his town. By examining these relationships, it is easy to see his growth. In the early story “Mother”, George Willard lacks to have a mature emotional relationship with another person, 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
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79 Jung novel progresses, changes occur in George’s character emotionally. His relationships with women in particular change, as he is able to express his emotions more. “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).
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