Monday, January 28, 2008

Toomer in "Fern"

Toomer writes himself into “Fern,” and after reading some of his biographical information, one is able to notice the aspects of his own life that is mirrored in the narrator’s movements. The shifting from place to place in his own musings and contemplations reflect the travels that Toomer made when he was younger, and even in young adulthood. It is interesting to see that his story takes place within Georgia, the place that Toomer finally decided to live and where he “found in him the belief that he had located his ancestral roots” (Williams 3). For it is here that one is able to see Toomer arrive and begin to make acquaintances with the people there. It is also interesting to notice that Toomer, within the story, decides to take a train back to the North. In this sense, Toomer is leaving his ancestral roots, leaving Georgia where he feels the most connected with his roots. Toomer traveled between white culture and black culture when he was young, and perhaps this story is a metaphor expressing that. Toomer also relied heavily upon the coming of the age of the African-American woman in post-Civil War society. The Fern character represents this change and idealization of that African-American woman, an “Esther” character to use the metaphor within the story. Toomer deals with identity a lot within his writings, and perhaps this mirrors his own thoughts and contemplations of his own identity, going back and forth from white and black culture during a time when there was a wall between the two.I would like to reference the quote that I used in the above blog, A Jean Toomer Biography. Scott W. Williams. 24 January 2008

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