Posted at 10.13.2018
The Harlem Renaissance was a period period when the BLACK fine art and culture started to thrive. This time around period many BLACK people started being more assimilated with American culture then before. The migration from the suppressed south to the north is exactly what ushered in the Harlem Renaissance period. This was also a period where African People in america had disappointed their inhibitions which in turn paved just how for the culture to come through. Still, many black people had to undergo challenging times. Many of the southern blacks experienced to deal with racial beatings and lynching. The author who really drew a vivid picture of the lives of southern dark-colored people was Jean Toomer. Toomer had written his famous novel Cane at the beginning of the Harlem Renaissance which further motivated other BLACK musician. In Cane, Toomer uses attractive imagery of Georgia and symbolism showing the lives of southern black people. His testimonies "Portrait in Georgia" and "Georgia Dusk" mention lynchings that white people use within try to show black people who the powerful race is. Other testimonies like "Song of the Son" and "Cotton Song" echo the past background of slavery. One dominant theme that appears to be relevant in Cane is sexuality, or more prominently dark women's sexuality.
In the first report "Karintha", Toomer explains to of a woman who "Men had always requiredeven as a child" (Toomer 1). The lust of Karintha at a age was one so appealing that even elderly men wished for children so they would have a chance with her. This changes though when "She played 'home' with a little boy who was not worried to do her bidding" (Toomer 1). This range seems to imply that Karintha married a guy who could provide certain things to her. Further lines that talk about the old men who remind Karintha of when they use to lust after her, mentions that she "Smiles, and indulges them when she actually is in the ambiance for it, " which facilitates the idea that Karintha has turned into a prostitute. This is also apparent when Toomer explains:
The attention directed at Karintha was only used for her sexuality. Eventually, the lust for Karintha dehumanized her lifestyle and "The spirit of her was a growing thing ripened too soon" (Toomer 2). This estimate reinforces the thought of Karintha being a prostitute. From these actions it could also be implied that Karintha got a stillborn baby when Toomer writes ""But Karintha is a woman, and she has had a child. A child fell out of her womb onto a foundation of pine-needles in the forest" (Toomer 2). At the start of this story, Toomer shows the innocence of a Karintha, he then contrasted that to an older "used" Karintha.
Another story "Carma" is approximately a black female who's "strong as any man" (Toomer 10). Carma's promiscuous sexuality is exactly what eventually lands her husband in a chain gang. The story continues on to describe that Carma comes with an extramarital affair "She experienced others. No one blames her for this" (Toomer 11). She might not be blamed for the, but she is blamed after her man finds out about the affair. This brings about Carma firing herself to gain more sympathy from him. This does only anger her partner who declares "Twice deceived, and one deception turned out the other, " then kills a guy next to him (Toomer 11). Toomer portrays Carma as relatively of a she devil for her promiscuous sexuality that angers her man who eventually ends up providing his time.
Toomer shows the opposite of the erotic promiscuity within the last two stories with "Fern". Fern is a dark woman whose body is sexualized by other men but she purposefully remains a virgin. While men thought that "Fern's sight thought to them that she was easy, " really she did not feel appreciated to gratify their needs. Men could not believe that she'd not need them and "Sort of superstition crept to their consciousness of her being somehow above them. Being above them designed that she had not been to be contacted by anyone. She became a virgin" (Toomer 14). It the story it says that while being a virgin is normal, not wanting to reproduce is not which "black folks were designed to mate" (Toomer 15). Maybe it's assumed that Fern is portrayed as a Madonna, which would coincide with a line in a different one of Toomer's experiences that mentions a "Negress" who "drew a portrait of a dark Madonna on the courthouse wall membrane" (Toomer 21). After the narrator spend time with Fern, he reduces the real Fern who ended up fainting in his hands. The men in the city hear about this and the narrator is given filthy looks because they thought he had in some way threatened their "black Madonna". Toomer uses vibrant images of the scenery in the storyplot. At the end, he connects Fern with the precise landscape.
Toomer's next report "Esther", is a in regards to a black lady who "looks like just a little white child" (Toomer 20). From the story Esther terribly wants to affiliate herself to the dark-colored culture but finds it hard because she is lighter and her dad is the richest black person around. Esther in not portrayed as a dark temptress like in the other stories in Cane; she is considered not attractive. Esther dreams of being accepted in to the black culture. In a single, she dreams there is a fire in the town which could be seen as a metaphor on her behalf desire. When the fire starts the women "scoot in all directions" giving Esther with a child who's "Black, agreed upon, woolly, tobacco-juice baby-ugly as sin. Once held to her breasts, miraculous thing: its breathing is sweet and its own mouth can nibble" (Toomer 22). This is interpreted as Esther convinced that she needs a dark skinned baby to feel less light skinned. While the people in her aspiration might start to see the baby as unpleasant, she perceives it as her connection to darker skin area, forgetting her own color. Esther recognizes that men do not notice her and even says "I don't appeal to them. I speculate why" (Toomer 22). That is when her obsession with a dark-colored man known as Barlo begins because it helps her ignore she is lighter. She wants to offer herself to Barlo so she will have the ability to conceive her dark skinned child she acquired dreamed of, thus becoming more darkened. When Barlo returns to town she seeks to meet him in person to give her body to him which does not come out well as he recognizes her lighter skin tone. With the failed disappointment Esther says herself "The idea comes suddenly, that conception with a drunken man must be considered a mighty sin" (Toomer 25). Her dreams to reproduce with Barlo failed, she becomes completely disembodied. By the end of this account, the town disappears along with her dreams.
While the men in BLACK culture tried so difficult to get away from the view that white people acquired, believing black people to be over sexualized beings, Toomer portrayed his dark-colored women as that. While there's been a public stigma adjoining the false opinion that BLACK women are over sexualized, a few of the reviews such as "Karintha", "Carma", and "Fern" do nothing to discredit that belief. Granted, this is not a more robust theme in these reports that lynching or slavery was. That said, the Harlem Renaissance period was a time when white people got began to notice BLACK art and Toomer attempted to accurately screen the real lives of African Us citizens in Cane.