Thursday, April 19, 2012

Short Fiction Review: Karintha by Jean Toomer

Karintha is a girl that grows up so quickly because her beauty lures men twice her age to her thus forcing her to grow up early and fulfill her role.  Desired as a child, Karintha is shown in the beginning of the short story as a child na├»ve of life and love. At youth, she was so beautiful that men ignored women their age and went after her waiting for her to be old enough to mate with her. At 12, she was mischievous but nonetheless, her beauty and youth granted her an easy way out for to everyone, she was an innocent flower. Rumors about her circled the society, and thus, her youth was jeopardized.  Her mother and father would mate right next to where the children would sleep thus she was exposed to love making at an early age. She was tempted to imitate it with a boy and thus, called it play ‘home’. That began everything. Being a woman, she is cornered by old men who once went after her when she was a child. In anger, she indulges them manipulating them. She has young men hovering by her side. Men go study, and the city making their money and fulfilling their careers. She on the other hand, has been married many times and bore a child. She was “ripened” too soon, beauty ended her. 
   Karintha was never able to live a proper childhood. She was never able to have fun as a child because she was always surrounded by men interested in mating with her because of her beauty. She wasn’t able to be rebellious either because she was always the good girl due to her angelic features. She was also openly exposed to sex as a child, which isn’t good for children her age. When she played home with that boy, I felt bad that she compared home to lovemaking by saying play home. Home should be a place of family, comfort, shelter, and a caring atmosphere. The men in her life were all selfish for they robbed her of a childhood. Due to all these problems she had that she never asked for, she bore a child and had many husbands. She was never able to get a proper education, earn her own money or lived independent from her spouse/partner. 

Her sole existence was through the men who court her. Her unequal state, large gender issues and social barriers examined the lack of women’s rights. They selfishly destroyed her youth she was forced to partake in her society’s expectation of being reproductive. Women were so suppressed by men that their rights were not existent for the longest time. The end highlighted her deep state of unhappiness. 

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