Jean Toomer: Poems

Self-Reflection Jean Toomer’s Beehive College

When placed in an environment of high stimulation, populace, and activity, one may begin to feel the desire to escape or detach from civilization. Such environments, most notably urban cities, often consist of a variety of tall buildings, which contain numerous tiny living spaces. Such buildings are overcrowded and congested with residents, and have soon evolved into human colonies or beehives. Living in a beehive may appear to provide a cramped and disheveled lifestyle, however it can also create an emerging sense of self-consciousness. In Jean Toomer’s poem, Beehive, uses of imagery, analogy, metaphor, and persona promote the connections between rural and urban spaces and suggest that urban space has a potential to encourage self-reflection.

Natural imagery is used in vivid descriptions of modern urban life as the speaker observes the bustling world around him. Analogies of jam-packed buildings and their inhabitants as beehives and their bees are used to describe the chaos of daily citizens as they metaphorically produce honey for the comb of the global capital. Also included is a persona, intoxicated by the sweetness of such a honey, which longs for the peace and serenity of rural space. Critics favor Toomer’s alertness to “...

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