“O pines, whisper to Jesus. . . Goose-flesh came on my skin though there still was neither chill nor wind.”
Toomer, Jean. “Becky.” Cane, p. 10
The story is revealed to be narrated from the first-person perspective. How does the differ when told in this perspective, as opposed to third-person? It suggests to me the narrator is expression a modicum of guilt. The perspective reads as a confession of his and the community’s culpability in the ostracization of Becky and her sons.
“Cotton bales are the fleecy way
Weary sinner’s bare feet trod,
Softly, softly to the throne of God,
’We ain’t agwine t wait until th Judgement Day!’”
– Toomer’s Cane, “Cotton Song”
This shows an obvious poetic form, which is present through the whole piece but the composition really hammers this in, allowing description to become poetic in a way that isn’t too descriptive. While there’s less description, there are still word choices that characterize in a powerful way
Hair- silver gray, like streams of stars, Brows- recurved canoes quivered by the ripples blown by pain, Her eyes- mist of tears condensing on the flesh below And her channeled muscles are cluster grapes of sorrow purple in the evening sun nearly ripe for worms
Cane, Jean Toomer, p. 14
The passage implies a distortion or lack of beauty that is still romanticized, giving the narrative a melancholic feel and possibly foreshadowing the novel’s unconventional perspectives on its other themes.