Naturalism in Jean Toomer's Cane College

Naturalism describes a type of literature that attempts to apply scientific principle of objectivity and detachment with regard to the study of human beings (Campbell). Charles Darwin, renowned biologist postulates his natural selection theory in his work, "The Origin of the Species". In the animal kingdom, the strongest survive. The reasons for survival of the fittest are the inborn mechanisms to fight adversity and reproduce. Applied in the social sphere, Darwin's philosophy is called social darwinism. Social Darwinism forms the cornerstone of Naturalism, where the prime focus is on the survival of the fittest. Man, a human beast, survives because of innate ability and primal instincts. Although man is endowed with a powerful mind that distinguishes him from the animal species, he retains instincts which aid him in self-preservation in the rat race of life. In Cane, one contemplates Jean Toomer as a naturalist author, who focuses on man's instinctual passion to have coitus and fight.

In Cane, human beasts instinctively act on libido, responding to the natural need to have sexual relations. When male and female are in close proximity, tides of passion overwhelm both sexes. Dan, Muriel's lover, "has an obstinate desire to...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 1049 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 8154 literature essays, 2279 sample college application essays, 354 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in