Jean Toomer- An African American Writer

1188 Words Jul 12th, 2018 5 Pages
Jean Toomer was an African American writer. He was known as the leading American writer of the 1920s after he established his book "Cane" which inspired authors of the Harlem Renaissance. Jean Toomer was born on December 26, 1894 as Nathan Pinchback Toomer. His mother was the governor of Louisiana during Reconstruction and the first U.S. governor of African American descent (Jones 1). In 1985, Toomer's father abandoned him and his mother. He forced them to live with his mother cruel father in Washington. P.B.S. Pinchback made a deal to support them only if they changed Toomer's name to Eugene Pinchback. Toomer later shortened Eugene to Jean. Toomer appreciated all the major American poets as part of his self-directed education. He was …show more content…
Toomer’s poems enhanced the moods of wistful and mournful pastoralism that pervades the book. His poems provide transitioning from one narrative to another, incorporating myths and symbols.
Toomer is a controversial literary and cultural figure who gets criticized by people for rejecting his race. He is praised by others for the confines of rigid ethnic distinctions. Toomer’s rejection of race drew sharp criticism from many people, especially from members of the African American community. They found him being self- loathing rather than racial unification (Claypool 2). Toomer has been criticized for failing to write about the experience after Cane. Many people said he denied his African American heritage out of shame and cowardice (Claypool 4). Many critics have credited his work with ushering in the Harlem Renaissance noting the book’s representations of African American characters and culture. Others have located it within the lost generation owing to its literary experimentation, romantic primitivism, and its critiques of postwar values (Jones 3). The analysis of Cane contains Toomer denying his racial heritage. This book also contains the extracts from most of the important early Cane criticism (Golding 3).
As an idealist philosopher, he valued the power of the mind and the imagination of physical reality (Claypool 3). In the summer of 1924 he spent time at Gurdjieffs schools. He became a disciple and led Gurdjieff groups in New
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