Thursday, January 24, 2008
Jean Toomer's "Fern"
As Thomas said, Jean Toomer had a unique heritage that allowed him to be both White and Black and pass as either whenever he wanted. Also what's interesting is that his trip to Georgia (also mentioned by Thomas) sparked his identification with his African American heritage. As I was reading "Fern," I was struck by the fact that Fern, like Toomer, had a conflicting mixed heritage being half-Jewish (racially speaking, she has the "Semitic" nose), half-Christian. What's surprising is that Fern is obviously very accepted in this world that Toomer has created, but she's clearly not satisfied with something in her life, maybe it is even her cultural makeup. Biographically speaking, I think it's pretty evident that there is a connection between the two's mixed heritages, but I was unable to find a whole lot on Toomer's feelings about his own mix... perhaps someone else had more luck with it.