Tuesday, February 1, 2011


“Karintha is a woman. Men do not know that the soul of her was a growing thing ripened too soon.” (Karintha)

This passage sums up Karintha’s tale in my eyes. Karintha “ripened” much sooner than she was supposed to. I believe that this statement means that she discovered her sexuality sooner that she was expected to. However, the way that she discovered her sexuality is not revealed in the story. The way I read it, she could have discovered it against her will. As it is stated near the beginning of the reading in reference to the attention Karintha receives, “This interest of the male, who wishes to ripen a growing thing too soon, could mean no good to her.” This line gave the entire story a sense of foreboding, like something awful would happen to Karintha.

Another line in the novel that makes it appear that Karintha was raped comes when Karintha’s feelings toward the men around her are brought to light. It says in the story that “she has contempt for them.” She has received their attention from the time that she was young and now holds them in contempt. Although this passage could mean something different, I believe it means that she had a horrible experience with one of the men and now views all of them contemptuously.


  1. I'm not sure so much that Karintha was raped, but I do agree that her ultimate demise comes not only in the form of the desires of men, but of those who think their actions are somehow good natured and beneficial to Karintha. Throughout the story Toomer takes experiences, such as an older male figure bouncing a child on his knee, a supposed sign of affection and causes the reader to see a selfish, grotesque thing. Equally, men in the story see themselves as giving her money, or doing her a favor. Toomer throws all this a side by reminding us that men will never understand that forcing her into maturity produces the same effect as eating a fruit that hasn't ripened. They merely created for themselves a creature that is hard and bitter

  2. I completely agree that Karintha ripened much sooner than she was supposed to. I also thought it was interesting how the men almost viewed her as an adult and they kept praising how beautiful she was and were basically counting the hours until they could possibly mate with her (which was really weird by the way). I felt like she was unable to grow up as a 12 year old should grow up. I am not saying that there is only one deinite way that this can happen, however when there are grown men constantly lusting about a young girl and hanging around her all the time, she is unable to live in her world of imagination. She feels as if if she has to grow up so quickly. When we were kids, all we wanted to do was play with other kids, so when Karintha was exposed to this adult like life style, she probably viewed the world from an adult perspective, which is unfortunate in a sense.

    Another problem I had with the gentlemen is how could they have even thought that she was as beautiful as they thought she was? It's almost like they did not even give her the chance to become an adult and grow into a mature being. In my opinion, these guys need to get a life.

  3. At the top of page 4, we learn that in the 2-room house "Katrina had seen or heard, perhaps she had felther parents loving. One could but imitate one's parents, for to follow them was to follow the will of God. She played 'home" with a small boy who was not afraid to do her bidding. That started the whole thing" (4). I think she merely took after the culture of the period to start as early as she could. It can be argued that this quick-ripening culture is wrong and has wronged her (taken away her innocense as a rape would), but I don't see evidence for an literal rape.

  4. The narrator points out that it began when "she played 'home' with a small boy who was not afraid to do her bidding." Though it was certainly catalyzed by the desire with which the older men beheld her. As she grew older, she noticed the lustful gaze they put on her and she began to hold them in contempt. She used the way in which they looked at her to manipulate and toy with them, such as taking the money from the men that worked for her sake without giving them anything in return.