Karintha is an interesting take on the portrayal of an African-American woman, and how she is viewed by men in her society. I found the third paragraph to stand out most in my eyes. There is a short, four line indented passage of what seems to be an excerpt from a poem. This inclusion of the poem gives an emotional response from the author to the audience. “Her skin is like dusk, o cant you see it, Her skin is like dusk, When the sun goes down” (Toomer 4). The audience is provided with this poetic piece that gives an image of the woman’s skin, and uses a simile to describe her skin as dusk, or the period between day and night. This is important to note because Karintha is being described as a light skinned African-American, which apparently seemed to be desirable by the society she lived in.
Another part of the third paragraph I find to be very interesting is the sense of power that Karintha holds over these men. This piece was published in the mid 1920’s, which was coming at the tail-end of the Women’s Suffrage Movement, and women were just starting to gain rights in society. “Karintha smiles, and indulges them when she is in the mood for it. Young men run stills to make her money…They all want to bring her money” (Toomer 4). This passage shows how Karintha indulges the men when she so wishes to. She has the ability to flirt with them, and even get money from these men. Her beauty is what entraps these men into giving her money, as long as they are given affection in return from Karintha. I feel that this passage shows the power and beauty of a young woman, but also reveals the greed of men in society to indulge in her just for the fact that she is beautiful.
Toomer, Jean. Cane. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1988.