Ellen K. Sigl

Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department / School


First Advisor

Mary R. Ryder


This thesis studies Cane as an art form intentionally designed, like others of its time (principally painting), to preserve the spiritual beauty of the African American race before it completely conformed to the "general outlines of American civilization and chaos" (Benson and Dillard 27). Critics have long questioned whether Jean Toomer's Cane fits into the form of a novel, but they haven't examined its place in the artistic milieu of the Harlem Renaissance. Particularly crucial to Cane is Toomer's interaction with Waldo Frank, James Weldon Johnson and Aaron Douglas and the effects of their aesthetics on the structure, language, and imagery of Cane. This thesis examines Cane's structure in relation to the methods, structure, and themes Aaron Douglas used in his paintings.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Toomer, Jean, 1894-1967. Cane
Toomer, Jean, 1894-1967 -- Criticism and interpretation
Douglas, Aaron -- Criticism and interpretation
Art and literature -- United States -- History -- 20th century




South Dakota State University



Rights Statement

In Copyright