Emergence of Culture and Community

“Jazz songs and love, thrusting unconscious rhythms, black reddish blood into the white and whitewashed wood of Washington,” (53).

Toomer, Jean. Cane. 1923. New York: Liveright, 2011.

Seventh street is the representation of black culture and the black community. This all began to emerge when the migration from the South to the North happened, which created these communities and really brought life to them. Today we can still see these communities and their influence on society.

Linkage in Cane

“Night winds in Georgia are vagrant poets, whispering. Kabnis, against his will, lets a book slip down and listens to them. The warm whiteness of his bed, the lamp-light, do not protect him form the weird chill of their song: White man’s land.

Toomer, Jean. Cane, 67

This line from the novel can be interpreted as a linkage to the real world’s racial issues of its time. While Toomer rejects his novel as a presentation of a black literary work, there is linkage between what he writes to the experience of a black person living in America during that time period.

Linkage in Cane

“We sat there holding hands. Our palms were soft and warm against each other. Our fingers were not tight she would not let them be.”

Toomer, Jean. Cane, 60

I found this recurring idea of holding hands interesting as it seemed to be an accurate representation of their relationship. The narrator seems to have very intense feelings about Avey but she appears very closed off. It’s as if there was a wall standing between them. In the end just like their hand holding the relationship ends up being a very superficial and not very tight.

[Running from] Linkage

“Oh, no, I wont let that emotion come up in me. Stay down. Stay down, I tell you” (114).

Jean Toomer, Cane. Boni & Liveright, 1923, pg. 114.

As a brief side note, I must say that reading through the commonplace entries posted thus far, I find it interesting that we have interpreted “linkage” differently.

In this excerpt, I see a man whose deep-rooted racial prejudice is soon to get the best of him. Here, Kabnis fights with the urge to express his racism in a manner which older members of his family may exact naturally. Above the urge to fight his own prejudiced impulses, he fights with the man that he hopes to never be linked with; likely running from the backwards thinking of his upbringing.

Jean Toomer’s, Cane, Linkage

“Wind is in the cane. Come along. Cane leaves swaying, rusty with talk, Scratching choruses above the guinea’s squawk, Wind is in the cane. Come along” (Toomer, 11).

Toomer, Jean. Cane. Dover Publications, Inc., 2019.

Jean Toomer opens up many of his chapters with a small poem containing information about the following chapter. However, I noticed how when Toomer does open his chapters with these small poems, there is a lot of repetition each time he does this. For example, ‘Come along’ and ‘Wind is in the Cane’  is repeated two times in this short poem and if we look at other poems before the start of new chapters, we see similar types of repetition.