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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Undeniable Beauty: Race and Gender Analysis of Jean Toomer's "Fern"

Throughout the story of “Fern” the issue of race is always present. The thing about Fern however, is the fact that her beauty and presence were undeniable by either race, black or white. The story of Fern is written from a male’s perspective; in fact, the beauty of Fern has entranced the narrator of the story. “It makes no difference if you sit in the Pullman or the Jim Crow”(18); Fern’s beauty would overrun any man’s thought despite their race or beliefs. According to the narrator men and sex are inseparable, “...what thoughts would come to you—that is, after you’d finish with the thoughts that leap into men’s minds at the sight of a pretty woman who will not deny them”(18). In the story of “Fern” and the effect she had on men, race and gender are intertwined, or simply ignored. White men who once ignored her (17) and black men who became attached (16) both felt the presence of Fern and were unable to deny that beauty is undeniable no matter what race a person may be.

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