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Literary Techniques Used in November Cotton Flower by Jean Toomer

Decent Essays
“Slavery in the south was brutal as anybody could imagine” an idea expressed by Jean Toomer through his poem called “November Cotton Flower”. The poem is fourteen lines of rhyming verse describing the harsh, sudden and questionable bloom of a cotton flower in the month of November. It is composed of heroic couplets, with a regular rhyme scheme, which is as follows: A, A, B, B, C, C, D, D, E, E, F, G, H, H, but the poem reads like Shakespearian sonnet - three quatrains developing a certain tone and theme, followed by a couplet that undercuts or reverses them. In the beginning it portrays the scuffle for survival of cotton flower during November’s harsh winter weather; but towards the end, it describes the sudden bloom of it. The author goes in depth with most of the descriptions to give a reader a clear and strong mental image.
The poem describes the weather and its effect on cotton flower by pointing out the dying branches and vanishing cotton. The image of insufficiency, struggle and death parallel the oppression of African American race. The beginning of the poem illustrates the struggle and suffering of the cotton flower; which represent the misery of African Americans and also gives an idea that there is no hope for them. But at the end the speaker says “brown eyes that loves without a trace of fear/ Beauty so sudden for that time of year” (lines 13-14). This shows the rise of the African American race, and their fight against racism. The author used mood, tone and
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