Cane Poem

1496 Words 6 Pages
Cane by Jean Toomer was written at the beginning of the Harlem Renaissance, which showcased a series of poems and short stories that revolved around the origins and experiences of African Americans in the United States. During the Harlem Renaissance era, African American culture started to thrive and they became more assimilated with the American culture. The structure of Cane is written in a circular narrative style wherein the novel starts out with stories from the South, rural Georgia, moving to the urban North, Washington D.C., and then closing in the South again. The first section takes place in rural Georgia and describes the lives of the slaves, especially focusing on how women are victimized and objectified in a patriarchal society. …show more content…
In the poem, “Seventh Street”, the narrator focuses on the negative aspects of a street in Washington D.C., where predominantly African American people spend most of their time in. The environment of the street is characterized by drinking, gambling, and jazz music as evidenced by phrases such as “life breathing its loafer air, jazz songs and love”, “money burns the pocket”, and “frenzy of dizziness they drank”. The street is characterized as a crumbling place that represents how the African American people are deemed in society, as low class citizens who do nothing but commit crimes. “Rhobert” describes a man who is struggling to express his true identity because of his illness and his constant battle with temptation. Throughout the story, the narrator displays fear, anxiety, and denial with everything that is going on in his life. There is the ongoing struggle in finding a peaceful moment in his life, but the weight of the crumbling environment, his conscious struggle with accepting his illness and his broken dreams cause him to waste away his life. His mindset reflects the business and the chaos that can be found in the urban life of the North. “Beehive” is another poem that compares the city to a beehive, which represents the city filled with people, activity and temptation. There are two types of bees, the bees that “pass in and out the moon” and the “silver bees intently buzzing”. The bees that seem to just pass by in and out are represented by the African American community, where they are not given the chance to be part of society. They are merely seen as a group of people who are one among the millions of Silver bees, which can represent the White community, who represent the society as well-educated and superior people. The second section of Cane deals with the post-war experiences of being accepted

Related Documents