Revisiting Cane Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/undergraduate_thesis_or_projects/1g05fd18v

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  • Throughout Cane, a colon is representative of both characters’ thought and dialogue in a quasi­drama technique that perpetuates the idea of a staged performance (Foley 233). Through this form, Cane encapsulates the non­-authentic expression that African Americans were subjected to by a means of acting and/or pretending in fear of being lynched. In the final chapter, “Kabnis”, this form remains while attempting to conclude, or in Toomer’s circular form, prove continuous with the previous sections. However, there are two separate instances when “Kabnis” strays from the rules of the quotation mark/colon binary. At first glance, these may appear to be typographical errors in the edition of the text but upon investigation of the first edition of Cane at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University, their placement proves to be intentional. The shift in form related to the binary of thought/dialogue and in turn colon/ quotation mark in “Kabnis” supports W.E.B. DuBois’ theory of “double­consciousness,” the idea that the mind and body are two separate entities which cannot both be authentically expressed. This dilemma of “twoness” and racial duality is proven to have heavily weighed on Toomer himself through the analysis of form and content of “Kabnis ”.
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