Short Story #344: Fern by Jean Toomer

Title:  Fern 

Author:  Jean Toomer


Book cover to The Best Short Stories by Negro Writers - Langston Hughes.
The narrator remarks about the all-consuming Fern, a woman whose attraction unravels anyone within her eye shot.  For a while, she would regularly see her suitors but eventually stops seeing people long enough that they think of her as pure.  The narrator admits to admiring and being attracted to Fern.  One day, the narrator gains the confidence to ask for Fern and go for a walk with her.  The narrator wraps his arms around her and when they look at each other, Fern becomes upset and eventually faints.  The narrator brings her back and people are suspect of him.  He eventually leaves town, thinking some day he might do something nice for Fern.  


I'm torn about this story's meaning.  I have to wonder if the narrator was a male or female as it isn't entirely clear.  As to Fern's reaction at the end, I'm not sure of that either or it at least makes me wonder if this is how she had been all along.  In the final line, the narrator reveals Fern's full name, again, not sure why this is.

Short Story #344 out of 365
Rating: 2 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read:  12/1/2014
Source:  The Best Short Stories by Negro Writers, ed. by Langston Hughes.  Little, Brown, and Company, 1967.  This story can also be found for free at this website.  

For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.

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