The 's Cane, Misunderstanding, Violence, And Even Death

1639 Words7 Pages
In Toomer’s Cane, miscommunication gives root to many problems such as static characters, misunderstandings, violence, and even death. The reason that communication fails in Jean Toomer’s Cane is because of the way men objectify women as objects of nature to be studied and interpreted. The women are compared to the beauty of nature by the men of the novel which suggests that men only see the exteriority of women and they cannot see the interiority of the female character. The use of connecting women to nature suggests that Jean Toomer is looking at gender and how masculinity shapes the female role into isolation as physical objects of sexual desires. Communication fails because men only regard women as surfaces that have no identities. Men…show more content…
Karintha’s beauty is associated to dusk and it is described as something that cannot and is not seen, the narrator states, “O can’t you see it, O can’t you see it” (1). The men of the town cannot see Karintha’s inner self so they assume and form her into what their imaginations desire to see. Toomer emphasizes masculinity and the male gaze in this chapter as the reasons to why communication fails between Karintha and men. The men are infatuated with Karintha’s beauty that they construct her as innocent and harmless. They are obsessed with her virginity and desire to have it, the narrator states, “Men had always wanted her, this Karintha, even as a child, Karintha carrying beauty, perfect as dusk when the sun goes down. Old men rode her hobby-horse upon their knees” (1). Karintha’s association to virginity, beauty, and later promiscuity is indicated through nature which suggests that Toomer is pointing to an association of the female body to nature. The gender distinction is drawn and this chapter indicates that the male domination is the reason for miscommunication and misinterpretation between the male and female characters. Karintha is associated to nature and therefore men cannot understand her because she becomes a figurative symbol that men tie to sex and the land. Karintha becomes a part of nature because she is

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