Toomer’s “Cane”: FACE Tone and Structure



like streams of stars,

Brows —
recurved canoes
quivered by the ripples blown by pain,

Her eyes—
mist of tears!” (Toomer 14)

Toomer, Jean. Cane. Boni and Liveright, 1923.

In between each line in the poem, there’s a pause indicated by a hyphen. The repeated short breaks draws attention to the subject indicated by the capitalized first letter and each bodily feature having its own line as its being described. Because African American work is spoken rather than read unlike most traditional works of literature, the lines are short with multiple pauses. However, for the reader they hang onto the words being divided by the small breaks. Because these lines are short, it embodies the tone for this poem.