Toomer's Seventh Street, Depicts Life and Issues in the Prohibition Period

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Toomer's Seventh Street, Depicts Life and Issues in the Prohibition Period

Toomer captures very deep thoughts in his writing in fairly simple language. The way he works his ideas into the text is amazing. In "Seventh Street," an excerpt from his larger work, Cane, Toomer blends ethnic ideas together while speaking about issues that involve the whole public spectrum.

He begins with a four-line verse that draws the reader in and helps him to visualize the setting.

Money burns the pocket, pocket hurts,
Bootleggers in silken shirts,
Ballooned, zooming Cadillacs,
Whizzing, whizzing down the street-car tracks.

The world Toomer is speaking about seems very busy and fast-paced. He uses street imagery to create
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He describes the African-Americans on the street as "crude-boned" and "soft-skinned," implying that the people have a base in being natural and real and therefore they are soft-skinned, meaning they are beautiful, interesting people who naturally want to celebrate and enjoy life. They breathe a "loafer air," and are therefore quite laid-back and easy-going in their way of life.

On the other hand, the people in Washington, the government officials and all those who support Prohibition are described as dull and boring. He describes the blacks' presence in Washington as "thrusting unconcscious rhythms, black reddish blood into the white and whitewashed wood of Washington. Stale soggy wood of Washington." He uses the word blood to represent the livelihood and the energy of the blacks. Those who support Prohibition are described as "white and whitewashed wood of Washington." Therefore, they are seen as completely washed of life and energy. They are simply dry, boring people who do not understand what living is really all about. He mentions how "wedges rust in soggy wood." The people of Seventh Street simply cannot mesh with those who support Prohibition. Toomer says the the wood should be cut and split and allowed to dry in the sun and blow away.

It seems as though Toomer is trying to show a conflict between the blacks and the whites at a deeper level. "Wedges rust in soggy wood...Wedges are brilliant in the sun." Seventh