Miscegenation And Race In Jean Toomer's Lom, Absalom?

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Miscegenation and race are woven into the historical context of Southern society and traditions. Jean Toomer’s Cane focuses on the ambiguities of its characters’ mixed heritage which is perceived as a means of creating a new race—the human race. The subject of miscegenation and race in William Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom! receives an adverse perception because it deconstructs Sutpen’s intended design of a family dynasty. Both novels share a thematic concern of miscegenation and race which speaks to the notion of modifying traditions and racial sacrifices.
Toomer’s Cane explores the modernist perspective of racial identities being deconstructed to modify traditions of racial purity. In the modernist tradition, the language of “Fern” lies in ambiguity in regards to her racial identity. Toomer equates Fern’s skin complexion to a “soft cream foam” and as a “creamy brown color of her upper lip” (Toomer 18). He points out a significant racial marker of Fern’s nose being “aquiline, Semantic” (18). At this moment, the reader is unable to fully pinpoint her racial identity on account of Toomer’s
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details the complications of race and miscegenation which modifies the traditions in the Antebellum South. Thomas Sutpen’s design is a central component of the novel which is presumed to erase his ignoble background in order to form a family dynasty void of black blood. Sutpen admits that “I had a design. To accomplish it I should require money, a house, a plantation, slaves, a family—incidentally of course, a wife” (Faulkner 206). His design emulates the ultimate Southern aristocracy which inhibits the traditions of white male prosperity. Black people are perceived as “wild niggers like beast half-tamed to upright like men” (3). Blackness is to be viewed as an unfit being which is akin to an animal void of any respectable human qualities. Thus, any hint of blackness within his design renders his status among the white Southern

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