Monday, February 23, 2009

Motion vs. Stillness

In Jean Toomer’s “Theater” there are many different binaries that can be analyzed but I am going to focus on Motion vs. Stillness. In the first paragraph Toomer uses the motion vs. stillness to personify the walls as being asleep then waking up and being alive when rehearsal would start. ”Afternoons, the house was dark, and the walls are sleeping singers until rehearsal begins.” (52). Then the more common motion vs. stillness binary is seen between Dorris dancing and John sitting and watching. John is introduced as a motionless character. “He is seated at the center of the theater…” (52). The only actions that John has are his thoughts that help drive the story and gives the readers more information. Then there is Dorris who is one of the dancers. Her part binary is motions. She dances to express her emotions. (Dorris dances. Se forgets her tricks. She dances. Glorious songs are the muscles of her limbs.” (55). Just because motion is stated first in the binary does not mean that stillness has any lesser of a meaning. One of the unique characteristics of the structure of the story is how the readers are able to read what is on John’s mind with out him doing anything yet we are also able to read this and see his point of view. To contrast Dorris who is physically displaying her emotions though dance.

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