Friday, February 4, 2011

Karintha and Dusk/Dust

So, in reading Karintha I immediately noticed the number of times Toomer uses "dusk" or "dust" in both the stanzas and the many narrative. From my initial count, Toomer uses dusk or dust TWELVE times, so to me that means these words must have some importance, either that or Toomer just really likes the word. In the most basic of explanations, Karintha's skin is described as having the same color as the horizon at dusk. This description brings to mind a darker reddish hue, which to me suggests that she is not from a completely African-American ancestery and perhaps her parents were of mixed descent. However, in evoking dusk as a color of the sunrise, I cant help but think that the act of the sun setting must itself have some sort of signficance as well. Is Toomer trying to suggest that Karintha somehow suggests the beginning? Dusk on the eastern horizon could mean two things: the color of the eastern sky at surnise, or perhaps the reflection of the sun setting in the western sky. Any thoughts, fellow critics?

1 comment:

  1. I am still having problems posting my blog, so I am leaving it as a comment. I am sorry for any inconveniences James.


    "Georgia Dusk" and Remembrance

    Meanwhile, the men, with vestiges of pomp, (missing self importance)
    Race memories of king and caravan,
    High-priests, an ostrich, and a juju-man
    Go singing through the footpaths of the swamp.

    The poem as a whole seems to be about a night after working. It also seems to be focused on African-Americans. This can be seen in the first line of the stanza above. The line refers to men with missing self importance, most likely slaves (by the way that they were treated). After working a long day the slaves would sing and remember their homeland. This passage from “Georgia Dusk” alludes to this. The use of “race memories” is referring to their remembering of their homeland. While thinking back, they remember different aspects, such as what society was like (which is represented through the use of king and caravan). African religion is referenced in the third line of the stanza (they practiced animism, instead of Christianity).
    This stanza is important to the message of the poem as a whole. The third and fourth stanza seem to focus on nature being destroyed (Toomer may be symbolizing the slaves African heritage with this). The stanza provides the information that though they were taken from their homeland it is still a part of them and their lives.