Tuesday, November 7th, 2017...1:00 amBrian Nickless

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When reading Cane in regards to writing this blog post and trying to find a category to place it in I was reminded of several other works that were hard for me to categorize at first. Works like the films of David Lynch or writings of Kurt Vonnegut which impressed me with their uniqueness but also were hard to describe when talking to others about them. Cane is similar as I cannot think of a real genre for it as it lacks many of the formal attributes of the ones it seems closest to fitting into. It does not have a mainstream overarching story structure or even uniform methods of conveying stories as it switches between poetry and prose. Much like what Lynch does to traditional cinema structure and Vonnegut does with comedic fiction, Cane does to the literature about race in America. Due to my inability to put Cane into a genre I can only confidently describe it is a book about race in America. Cane uses several forms, mainly poetry and prose, of literature to illustrate both detailed and abstract stories  and poetry about race. While this isn’t a wholly satisfactory answer for even myself, I think it is the most accurate. I think this rejection of labels and literary norms helps distinguish Cane from the predominant white literature of the time and even mainstream literature today.

1 Comment

  •   Professor Seiler
    November 7th, 2017 at 1:22 am

    Brian–it strikes me that the descriptor “book about race in America” would seem to call for the kind of inventive, subversive, cyclical, experimental form _Cane_ takes…

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