Green Blades Sprouting in His Consciousness

“A strange thing happened to Paul. Suddenly he knew that he was apart from the people around him. Apart from the pain which they had unconsciously caused. Suddenly he knew that people saw, not attractiveness in his dark skin, but difference. Their stares, giving him to himself, filled something long empty within him, and were like green blades sprouting in his consciousness.”
Cane, Toomer, Bona and Paul, p. 104.
This example of indirect discourse is going on inside of Paul’s mind and it is a revelation about his identity. The Crimson Garden’s patrons have made him aware that he is judged foreign and “apart” from the white world. His student friends have treated him as an exotic being, Art actually trying to imitate him with his playing jazz piano. Art also questions his own identity because of his friendship with Paul. This is also a foreshadowing of the last paragraph of this story, when Paul must bare the weight of his otherness. He again has identity foisted on him by a manipulating white society.