Black Identity In Quicksand

1236 Words5 Pages
Nella Larsen, one of the major woman voices of the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s, when many African American writers were attempting to establish African–American identity during the post-World War I period. Figures as diverse as W.E.B. Du Bois, Alain Locke, A. Philip Randolph and Jessie Fauset, Zora Neale Hurston along with Nella Larsen sought to define a new African American identity that had appeared on the scene. These men and women of intellect asserted that African Americans belonged to a unique race of human beings whose ancestry imparted a distinctive and invaluable racial identify and culture. This paper aims at showcasing the exploration of African American ‘biracial’ / ‘mulatto’ women in White Anglo Saxon White Protestant America and their quest for an identity with reference to Nella Larsen’s Quicksand. As Hostetler points out Quicksand “is a meditation on color: gowns of shivering apricot; sunsets of pink and mauve light; the turquoise eyes of fellow travelers” (35). In Quicksand (1928) Larsen not only explores the modernity of New African American racial identity, but also expresses the concerns of the female “mulattos” who struggle with their “biracial” identities in s country that is sharply divided by color line. “This is the story of the struggle of an interesting cultured Negro woman against her environment,” writes Thronton (287). The novel begins with Helga’s teaching at an African American school called Naxos, but she
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