Though I will say it was a very interesting read that I enjoyed going through and analyzing. This section contains 146 words approx. Death was not able to keep Jesus in the grave, and the speaker suggests that in the same way, society will not be able to keep the African American people oppressed. The blood spilled by lynchers was quickly forgotten and became part of the past once the deed was done. They questioned why he seldom published and how he could afford to reject James Weldon Johnson's offer to publish his poems in Book of American Negro Poetry, which Toomer disdained because of its insistence on blacks only. Toomer does not print the break between stanzas as a physical break, but everything changes there nevertheless: Black horses drive a mower through the weeds, And there, a field rat, startled, squealing bleeds, His belly close to ground. Charles Scruggs anbd Lee VanDemarr The white South defined miscegenation practically as the rape of white women by black men.
Toomer was influenced by poets William Blake and Walt Whitman and the artistic genius of novelist James Joyce. The dying squeal of the rat affects the poetry itself, which is least iambic and most interrupted just here, as if the line itself were cut mindlessly and inorganically. Following his parents' divorce, he faced social and financial ruin after his mother married an irresponsible man and settled in New Rochelle, New York. It says that we can think of slavery itself as the reason for many deaths of slaves , which is true. His belly close to ground.
It is such a vile and disturbing poem that left me sickened. The blades of the mower cut through the field rat and keep moving. In the two stanzas before this passage, everything comes off calm but when the horses come in, there is violence, death, no remorse. This use of the letter c enforces the continuation of the mower and blade and how it does not stop when harming the field rat. This same description of each connects the two, making the men appear to be animalistic, as blacks were frequently viewed during the time period in which this poem was written. This makes me feel maybe the author is trying to sympathize with these workers. Lynchers did to blacks what they deemed fit, and did not care or realize that they were taking lives.
I see the blade, Blood-stained, continue cutting weeds and shade. This gives a masculine theme to the poem simply by painting a picture to the audience of these men hard at work. From Jean Toomer: ArtistA Study of His Literary Life and Work, 1894-1936. He became intrigued in the Quaker religion in 1938. One of the many atrocities they committed included lynching. As well as discrimination in which African Americans were not considered as people but more as an asset like an animal or machine that were bought and sold. Mice, on the other hand, have a slightly more positive connotation, and are sometimes associated to be cute and adorable.
What queer beliefs That men who believe in sights Disbelieve in seers. They may do the same work on an everyday basis, but the sweat that they waste in doing so reflects upon their hard work and personality. Parker feels blessed or forsaken. I interpret this word a few different ways, for according to the dictionary, a reaper has several meanings like One that reaps, especially a machine for harvesting grain or pulse crops, or the grim reaper who is the personification of death as a cloaked man or skeleton carrying a scythe. In addition to this more metaphysical register, I wonder to what extent this is a poem about poor labor and unfair labor systems, especially in the post-slavery south where sharecropping often failed to be distinguished sufficiently from the former slave system.
In his poem, he has end stops only in lines three through eight. Also, I can see the poet passing the field and seeing the large muscled black workers swinging their tools back and forth mowing the field and he associates them to strong black horses. The workers, the poet makes it seem as if the horses are one machine that is working in the field. The poet identifies the graceful passage of celebrants down a swamp footpath with the pomp of African royalty, including king, high priests, and juju-man, or shaman. However, if a field rat is killed, very little sadness is felt and there is virtually no sympathy for the rat.
He uses Christian imagery, in which he implies that just like Jesus Christ rose from the dead, the African American people would rise up again. In his poem, Toomer portrays African American laborers as black reapers working like black horses mowing the field. In establishing this division, Toomer indicts those who carry out acts of oppression against others and asserts that they act out of elements in themselves that are less than human. The black reaper is the reality of the workers color and the work they do. Because the mower is what mutilates the rat, it is not unreasonable to assert the often violent mistreatment of black people by white people.
He later joined the Quakers in the year of 1940. He shared the name Nathan along with his father. After reading this poem several times I believe it could have different interpretations. The poem has 5 stanzas each in parentheses theme of confined space, isolation , and have a pattern of stanzas. This sort of work is repetitive in a physical sense, relying as it does on a few movements reiterated again and again, and in a temporal sense, since it must be done every day, every season, season after season.
Only the pain in the pocket suggests a physical need to escape through tactile, visceral pleasure. During his first marriage, to the white novelist Margery Latimer, his license of marriage said that he was white. After his marriage with Margery ended he married Marjorie Content, who was also white, and lived yet again as a white man. After reading this stanza, I think that brings up another important theme the poet is trying to address, which is of violence. The mower is representative of whites and the rat is representative of blacks.
The difference could be while both are black men on the inside he is whiter on the outside and feels he is an outsider to his race and who he identifies with. Jean also had support from his maternal grandparents. Her father was Louisiana Governor P. He calls out to the African American people of the South to give their virgin lips in song, to the land that they should claim as equally as the white people of the South. The laborers that are working on the plantations are substituting for machines and these living beings are hardened to the sights and sounds of brutality in their lives.