This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Natural Symbolism In "Blood Burning Moon" Essay

1768 words - 7 pages

Racial and Gender Conflict:

According to Toomer, it's only Natural.

There are two real conflicts in Jean Toomer's "Blood-Burning Moon." The first is racial, which can be referenced in the very first sentence, and the second is a gender conflict, that subtly unfolds with the main characters' development. In this essay, I will show how Toomer uses vivid descriptions and comparisons of nature to establish these conflicts, and also to offer an explanation of their origin. He writes to argue that these roles, like the earth, are natural and therefore irrefutable. A close reading of the opening paragraph will reveal the sharp contrast between white and black, as it is described in a metaphor of wood and stone.

It can be argued that the entire story unfolds and closes in the first sentence alone. "Up from the skeleton stone walls, up from the rotting floor boards and the solid hand-hewn beams of oak of the pre-war cotton factory, dusk came" (1504). Two opposing materials collide; the stone walls meet the wooden floorboards, and day comes to an end. Analogically, this can be read as the fate and demise of Toomer's two male characters, Bob Stone and Tom Burwell. Words like `skeleton' and `rotting' offer an obvious premonition to death--and thinking on a deeper level, Toomer introduces the textile differences between wood and stone. While both are a part of nature, their substance couldn't be more opposite. This contrast will ultimately unfold into a greater conflict between white and black people.

Bob Stone is a white man; he is cold, flinty and unmoving. He possessively sees the Negro community as inferior--he owns them and they have no life beyond that.

He passed the house with its huge open hearth which, in the days of slavery, was the plantation cookery. He saw Louisa bent over that hearth. He went in as a master should and took her. Direct, honest, bold. ... She was worth it. Beautiful Nigger gal. Why nigger? Why not, just gal? No, it was because she was a nigger that he went to her. (1507)

When Toomer writes of Stone, the entire tone changes. He writes in the analytical and possessive inner monologue of a `white man', which is formal and calculating. All focus is removed from the environment, and devoted to the mind of Bob as he deliberates his relationship with Louisa. "He was going to see Louisa to-night, and love her. She was lovely--in her way. Nigger way. What way was that? Damned if he knew. Must know" (1507). Bob is confused by his feelings for Louisa, and the choppiness of his thoughts comes out in Toomer's writing.

Bob loves Louisa, but doesn't understand her. Although, given the way Toomer has structured the story, how can he be blamed? Bob has a mind of stone, and Negro's are described as wooden, and more connected to the earth. In other words, the moon, trees, and wilderness that is familiar and welcome to the Negroes, is interpreted as `gloom' in Bob's mind. This hints to the irreconcilable differences between...

Find Another Essay On Natural Symbolism in "Blood-Burning Moon"

Essay on Natural Symbolism in A Farewell to Arms

1753 words - 7 pages Natural Symbolism in A Farewell to Arms       As with many other authors of fictional novels, Ernest Hemingway was often noted for his use of symbolism in his numerous pieces of literature. Natural symbolism plays a significant role in Hemingway’s novel, A Farewell to Arms. This novel uses aspects of nature to structure the plot and provide symbols that replace human emotions.       Nature serves as a source of symbols which

Symbolism in "A Rose for Emily" and "Barn Burning" by William Faulkner

1046 words - 4 pages In his many works of fiction, William Faulkner explores the lives of characters who live in the closed society of the American South, a society rooted in traditional values. In the short stories "Barn Burning" and "A Rose for Emily," Faulkner explores what happens when individuals lose their connection to this society and its values. Both Abner Snopes, a rebellious sharecropper, and Emily Grierson, an unmarried woman from a prominent family, are

The Symbolism of Death in Alistair McLeod’s "The Lost Salt Gift of Blood"

770 words - 3 pages In Alistair McLeod’s collection of short stories the Lost Salt Gift of Blood; death seems to be a constant companion. Death is important and perhaps even symbolic in this collection of short stories. It is important because it has the power to affect people and relationships, invokes freedom and even predetermines ones future, through the death of animal’s people and the impending death of others. The first story “In the Fall” consists of 2

Blood Moon Lunar Eclipse

702 words - 3 pages eclipse. So, why does a blood moon occur? A blood moon occurs just like any other lunar eclipse, when the moon passes through the Earth’s umbra but because earth’s atmosphere is mostly nitrogen, only red light is visible. The natural blue light is filtered out and thus the red light hits the moon, causing us to see it as blood moon when in fact it is still the same color it has always been. The next question that still needs to be answered, how do

Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451: Abolish Censorship

1616 words - 7 pages woman stay in a burning house; there must be something there” (Bradbury 48). Bradbury intended to tell the society that it’s too late to consider about culture and civilization when it develops irreversibly apathy, and it’s time to pay attention to the things that really necessary to people, culture and emotion. Another great symbolism that show the society is in danger is blood. Blood symbolizes vitality and hope. However, in the novel, people seem

Barn Burning by William Faulkner

1373 words - 6 pages throughout the story “Barn Burning”. Faulkner uses symbolism to have underlying meanings beneath his writings. In this particular short story, Faulkner uses many different symbols throughout this piece of work. The biggest forms of symbolism throughout this story include fire, spring, blood, and even the wagon on moving day. Faulkner uses fire within this story to symbolize power. Abner Snopes is a main character within this story and has a need to

Analysis of "Blood Wedding"

4005 words - 16 pages thought to the extent that it can only be expressed within the symbolism of literature. In Lorca's "Blood Wedding," blood has many significant symbolisms structured throughout the play. Blood is repeatedly referred to as having magic powers and as the only food for supernatural beings. The moon proves this point when it awaits the death of Leonardo and the bridegroom. After lighting up the path which will led the two men to each other, it

Dramatic Techniques in Loarca´s Blood Wedding

998 words - 4 pages . “So that tonight I’ll have Sweet blood upon my cheeks” (Lorca, trans. 1993, p.83). The moon foreshadows that tonight blood will be shed and some characters will reach the end of their life. The beggar woman who represents death foreshadows that people will die right here in the forest. In conclusion, Lorca uses dramatic techniques such as off-stage music, symbolism, imagery and stage directions to a great extent. Blood Wedding has many symbols

symbols-A universal Language

1121 words - 5 pages developed as a literary movement, soon it was associated in the artwork of younger artist. They believed that art should mirror an idea or emotions rather that symbolize the natural world. In many artworks symbolism adds a quality or idea like in Madonna and Child with Saints Peter Paul and the donor' (1505) by G Bellini. The background illustrates the heavens because the marble floor in the painting contrasts with the natural background giving a

The Future of Earth's Moon

1027 words - 4 pages , life will cease to exist. Water is needed for us to transport nutrients around the body through the circulatory system in our blood. Oxygen is required for us to breathe and it is delivered to our bodily structures to perform their daily tasks. Ways in which we will supply the Moon with these components needed for life are still being explored. A recent concept thought up by NASA is to develop systems to make water and purify water supplies for

Celestial Objects: The Phases of The Moon

1465 words - 6 pages by the Sun, but what one can see on Earth can vary from fully lit, to fully unlit. The principal lunar phases are new moon, full moon, first quarter moon, and last quarter moon. The moon is also the only natural satellite of the earth. The moon goes through lunar cycles every few years called the "Blood Moons" in which it literally turns the color of blood, red, hence the name. In the book of Joel, God says "And I will show wonders in the heavens

Similar Essays

Comparing Woman’s Social Status In Becky And Blood Burning Moon

940 words - 4 pages Jean Toomer was bi-racial, sometimes being perceived as white and sometimes black. His race was a catalyst for his writings. Toomer wrote prose and poetry reflecting his ideas about race and gender, not wanting either to be an issue in the future. His writings depict people of all races facing struggles, some gender struggles and some racial struggles. In “Becky” and in “Blood Burning Moon,” Toomer centers around two females. During the

Blood Burning Moon B Jean Toomer Essay

1549 words - 6 pages “Red nigger moon. Sinner! Blood-burning moon. Sinner! Come out that fact’ry door” (Toomer 652). This moon blazing scarlet in the night sky certainly sets the tone for Jean Toomer’s story, “Blood-Burning Moon.” Not only does it foreshadow the violence that darkens his tale, but it also symbolizes the irresistible forces that tug at the lives of our three main characters, pushing and pulling on the chords of racial inequality that bind the nation

The Symbolism Of Blood In Macbeth

1024 words - 4 pages guilt that will haunt the Macbeths for the duration of their lives. Blood’s ubiquitous symbolism emphasizes the constant guilt felt by the Macbeths in their tragic pursuit of the monarchy. The symbolism of blood prior to, and immediately following Duncan’s murder amplifies the magnitude of Macbeth’s treachery. Following the prophecy of the witches, Macbeth contemplates the possible effects of murdering Duncan in order to gain the crown. Macbeth

Symbolism In Bernard Malamud's The Natural

2445 words - 10 pages Symbolism in Bernard Malamud's The Natural    The role of symbolism in Bernard Malamud's The Natural is important in helping the reader understand the theme and meaning of the novel as well as the time period in which it took place.  Malamud¡¦s use of symbolism defines the character of Roy Hobbs and shows how the events occurring around him affected his decisions and, eventually, his career.    Symbolism in The Natural takes the form of