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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Toomer's Fern: How does Fern regain her virginity?

In Fern, a beautiful girl enthralls many of the men around her. They tend to have their way with her at some point during their individual infatuations, do not feel fulfilled, and then leave. After all of this, Fern is said to become a virgin again. How is this possible? Virginity is not something that can be regained in a physical sense. Our narrator is a northern black man. He states that he is from the north about half way down the second paragraph. He is black because he says that he notices that the white men pay on attention to Fern (end of the first paragraph) and he takes notice of her. At first glance, he has no idea who she is. In his mind, she must be a virgin. Her image is portrayed as being pure, which is indicative of virginity.

All of the men, including the narrator, are caught up in her beauty. She simply appears to be as pure as a virgin. “Men saw her eyes and fooled themselves.” This quote, a third of the way into the first paragraph, demonstrates how deceptive her beauty really is. The men have fooled themselves into thinking that she is a virgin. The narrator himself states that he “feels bound to her.” He had grand dreams of what he could do for her, much in the same way the other gentlemen in town did. He recounts the tale of one young boy who almost got run over while gaping at Fern. The men are willing to not pay attention to her impure past. Her beauty is so pure that the men themselves grant virginity upon her in their minds.

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