Friday, February 4, 2011

Karintha's Harlotry

Karintha’s tale was, to me, almost a minor tragedy. The reader learns about this little girl, “who carrie[d] beauty,” (Cane, 4). Yet, as is the way of men, they all sought to “ripen” Karintha too soon. The idea that they sexualize Karintha is never hidden from the reader, rather, the reader is told from the first that, “men had always wanted her,” (Cane, 3). The tragedy comes from the section that talks about how the men bring her money. Toomer implies that Karintha had become a prostitute. While the idea of Karintha selling herself may not be entirely obvious from that section alone, the combination of the mens’ sexual desire and “want” leaves us with the conclusion that the money is for sex, a way that the men can have her without really having her. The men who have forced their desires onto Karintha have in turn forced her into the oldest profession.

1 comment:

  1. I don't really know whether or not I agree with you. When I read Karintha, I assumed that the men were trying to bring her money in an attempt to impress her. However, the idea that she is a prostitute makes a lot of sense. It answers questions that I had while reading the story. Karintha's prostitution would explain her willingness to engage in sexual relations with so many of the men in her community. It would also give her a reason for hiding her pregnancy from the townspeople instead of marrying the father.