Published in 1923, Cane is Jean Toomer’s best-known work and the one that solidified him as a key figure in the Harlem Renaissance (though he later resisted this characterization). Structurally, the book is hard to categorize: it consists of poems, short prose pieces, and longer stories written in the style of scripts. While the individual pieces do not form an overall narrative, the unity of setting and theme, as well as the circular structure of the work, make it a coherent whole. Cane illustrates the complex nature of race in early 20th-century America through stories of individuals and collective experiences.
Key Aspects of Cane
Toomer is masterful in modifying his tone based...