Georgia Dusk Poem Analysis

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Jean Toomer’s “Georgia Dusk” reveals the remaining influence of slavery on a newly freed African American society. The title is especially relevant within Toomer’s poem, as it signifies a motif that exhibits lightness and darkness within the poem. “Georgia Dusk” signifies this fusion through the word “dusk”, or the time when day transforms into night. This has a possible relation to Toomer’s identity as a mixed-race person, in that he has several racial identities. Thus, the title could signify Toomer’s relations to both African American and white society. Furthermore, the motif of lightness and darkness shown within the poem could apply to the American community as a whole: in the same way that Toomer is a mixed-race person, society is facing a time where African Americans are increasingly becoming a part of…show more content…
Specifically, within the first stanza of “Georgia Dusk”, the speaker observes that “The setting sun, too indolent to hold/A lengthened tournament for flashing gold,/Passively darkens for night’s barbecue” (2-4). In this case, the sun is being said to be letting go of the day. This signifies that the ‘light’ within the poem, or the day, is transitioning to the “nights barbecue”, or the ‘dark’. This stanza also shows an initial passive mood through word choice, specifically the use of the words “indolent” and “passively”. Samuel Garren’s literary criticism of “Georgia Dusk” connects to this. Garren takes in this, and he specifies that “The sky is too lazy and passive to prolong the splendid sunset” (Garren), the “sunset” being the mixture of minority groups and white society. The poem furthermore illustrates an expanding amount of racial equality through its references to music. This is shown in the fifth and sixth stanzas. The speaker within “Georgia Dusk” references the influential past of African Americans before slavery when
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