Friday, January 25, 2008

Toomer's Reapers

In Reapers, Jean Toomer executes the theme of the poem through his splitting of it into two four line stanzas. In the first he describes the mindless work of the "Black reapers" as they go about their tasks. In the second he describes the equally mindless work of "Black horses" who continue mowing despite killing a rat. By splitting the poem in this way each half seems to mirror the other. The black workers who are being forced to work mindlessly in the fields for survival are paralleled with animals. This parallel seems to emphasize Toomer's struggle with his own racial identity.

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