Anaylsis of Jean Toomer, "Blood


Therefore, the author's frequent allusions to the racial distinctions between Louisa's suitors (Tom and Bob) actually foreshadow the violence that is soon to erupt between the pair. The subsequent quotation illustrates how the issue of race in the south is used to foreshadow the ensuing violence. "Bob Stone, younger son of the people she worked for, loved her. By the way the world reckons on things, he had won her… Tom Burwell…also loved her. But working in the fields all day, and far from her, gave him no chance to show it" (Toomer). This passage is preceded by one in which Toomer indicates that Louisa works for Caucasians, so the reader knows that Stone, the "son" of these people is white. Additionally, the fact that Burwell is laboring in "the fields" without opportunity to demonstrate his affections for Louisa indicates that he is African-American. By dividing Louisa's suitors on racial lines in a climate and setting that is decidedly explosive regarding racial matters, Toomer is foreshadowing some sort of conflict between Louisa's suitors.

Toomer also invokes a fair amount of anaphora, which is the repetition of entire words and phrases, to emphasize the "Blood Moon Burning's" theme of racial violence and conflict. The most effective aspect of the author's employment of anaphora is the fact that it both illustrates the elements of symbolism and foreshadowing previously clarified in this paper. The author repeats the subsequent passage, "Red nigger moon. Sinner! / Blood-burning moon. Sinner! / Come out that fact'ry door" (Toomer) three times in the story. Significantly, the first two instances of this text occur before the showdown between Tom and Bob, so that they effectively foreshadow this conflict. Additionally, the author describes the moon as both "red" and "blood-burning." The former description is a blatant symbol of the danger that the moon heralds. The second description is also highly indicative of the climax of the story in which Tom and Bob fight and there is a large amount of blood spilling from Tom. There are also references to Tom bleeding when he is burned to death by the mob that takes him after nearly (and perhaps succeeding in) killing Bob. Moreover, the very language of this reoccurring passage is steeped in southern racial conflict. The moon is also described as a "nigger" moon, a term which has obvious connotations to the term of disgust slave owners and poor whites attributed to African-Americans. This language is also used to refer to the impending racial conflict. By describing the moon thus, Toomer is again alluding to the lengthy history of racial difficulty in the area in which his story is set, the antebellum South. This historical conflict manifests itself in the story as a conflict between Tom and Bob and, later, in Tom's unjust murder.

Thus, an engaged analysis of Toomer's "Blood Burning Moon" reveals that the author utilizes critical literary and historical elements to identify and elucidate a theme of racial violence. The purposefully set this tale within the antebellum South to allude to the rife racial tension that routinely took place in that area during the past two centuries. He also employed literary elements such as symbolism, foreshadowing and anaphora to emphasize this theme and