Date of Award

Spring 2015

Document Type

Thesis

Department

English

First Advisor

Alastair Hunt

Subjects

Jean Toomer (1894-1967). Cane -- Criticism and interpretation, Voice in literature

DOI

10.15760/honors.132

Abstract

Critics have long debated the complexities of spoken language in Jean Toomer’s Cane. By examining Cane through the philosophical lens of Hannah Arendt, this thesis argues for the importance of the differences between individual and communal language as they appear in the text. The concept of communal language is shown both through Arendt’s conception of speech, and through the idea of "folk-speech" as it appears in Cane. These forms of speech are then contrasted with individualistic language, language created by and for the speaker, and shows the differences between the two in regards to social power. Cane privileges the idea of a communal voice over that of an individual voice, and claims that the individual voice is unproductive, while the communal voice carries the potential for social change.

Comments

An undergraduate honors thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in University Honors and English

Persistent Identifier

http://archives.pdx.edu/ds/psu/15391

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