Blood-Burning Moon by Jean Toomer | Essay – short story

Blood-burning moon a short story by Jean Toomer

In “Blood-burning moon”, a short story by Jean Toomer, intriguing love is challenged by the consequences of the abolishment of slavery. Bob, a plantation owner, does not love the young, black girl Louisa alone, as the black man Tom also loves her. A tense situation winds up, as the plantation owner’s inferiority complex grows. Meanwhile the moon develops a dark mood and tone, foreshadowing a gruesome fate.

Bob is conflicted by both Tom and Louisa being black. This becomes clear in the beginning of part three, where Bob Stone contemplates his stance toward “niggers”: “Him, Bob Stone, of the old Stone family, in a scrap with a nigger over a nigger girl. In the good old days … Ha! Those were the days. His family had lost ground. Not so much, though. Enough for him to have to cut through old Lemon's canefield by way of the woods, that he might meet her. She was worth it. Beautiful nigger gal. Why nigger? Why not, just gal?” The quote says a lot about Stone’s difficulties, because on one hand he devalues Tom because he is black, but on the contrary, he loves Louisa despite her being black. He clearly wants her not to be black though, as it can be seen in the last bit of the quote but also shortly above the marked quote, the speaker states that “The contrast was repulsive to him”. This might be because he thinks that like that, she would be of a higher quality, but it could also be because he would avoid the entire ordeal with Tom and Louisa having that in common.

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