Study Guide

"Portrait in Georgia" by Jean Toomer in Formalism

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"Portrait in Georgia" by Jean Toomer

Let's take another stab at "defamiliarization." This time let's take a gander at a poem called "Portrait in Georgia" and at a human body that stays, well, human (you know, as opposed to bug).

Jean Toomer was an African-American poet who lived at the turn of the twentieth century in Georgia. He wrote a book called Cane, which is a collection of poems and prose-poems that gives a picture of African-American life in the south during the time of the Jim Crow laws, which lasted from 1876 to 1965 (though he wrote the book in 1923). Here's one of the poems from that very volume.

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