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American Passages: A Literary SurveyUnit IndexAmerican Passages Home
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3. Utopian Promise   



10. Rhythms
in Poetry


•  Unit Overview
•  Using the Video
•  Authors
•  Timeline
•  Activities
- Overview Questions
- Video
Activities
- Author
Activities
- Context
Activities
- Creative Response
- PBL Projects

Activities: Author Activities


Jean Toomer - Author Questions

Back Back to Jean Toomer Activities
  1. Comprehension: What is the significance of the title Cane? What associations come to mind? In the second and last stanzas of "Georgia Dusk" Toomer uses "cane" as an adjective. What is he describing? Who is the "genius of the South"?

  2. Context: Toomer's descriptions of Fern link her to the landscape of the South and raise a number of questions. What was happening in the South between 1900 and 1930? What does this tell us about her? How would you characterize the relationship between Fern and the landscape? Why is she described as "cream-colored"? Why does she have such a mysterious effect on men? Why does the narrator mention cities like New York, Chicago, and Washington? Why does the narrator ask so many questions? The narrator leaves our questions unanswered. What is the effect of this ambiguous ending?

  3. Exploration: One of the most striking qualities of Cane is its use of multiple genres. In fact, one of the hallmarks of modernist literature is the authors' penchant for mixing genres, particularly prose and verse. Why does Toomer blend so many genres-poetry, short stories, sketches, and a play-in Cane? What effect does this shift among types of writing produce? How does his method compare to that of other writers in this unit?



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