When his menace possessed undisputed breath

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When his menace possessed undisputed breath, undisputed height And best of all, when history was cluttered With the bones of many eaten knights and princesses The fun was disturbed, then all but nullified When the Dark Villain was a blackish child(20-25) . This is to say, the only time when there would be any hesitation to the acts of violence being performed was when the one being killed had the same look of innocence that the children of the attending whites had . Brooks describes this further with her imagery of the eyes and mouth, “With eyes still young to be dirty,/And a mouth too young to have lost every reminder/Of its infant softness”(26-28) . This imagery is meant to represent the minimal sympathy that the lynching participants had . This imagery of the eyes and mouth of the lynching victims, is one commonly used by authors, especially poets . In Jean Toomer’s “Portrait in Georgia”, he uses this imagery to 2
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emphasize the sexualization of lynchings . His poem is broken up by aspects of the body that can be associated with sex; hair, eyes, lips, breath, and slim body . However, each are followed with a brief description, revealing the horrific reality that conflicts with the erotic tone . Toomer also uses various forms of literary devices in this short piece . He uses simile when describing the victims hair as “braided chestnut,/ coiled like a lyncher’s rope”(2146, 1-2) . This simile serves the purpose of reminding the reader that what is being described is not pleasant, regardless of Toomer’s structure of having parts of the body begin each line . He also uses alliteration and metaphor in the last two lines of the poem, “And her slim body, white as the ash/of black flesh after flame”(2147, 6-7) . The metaphor being used here represents the literal color change that took place when the African American’s were burned .
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