In Passing, Clare and Irene both deceive people. They both engage in deceit by having the ability to pass when they are not of the proper race to do so. Both Clare and Irene are black: Clare looks the part while Irene looks like she’s a mix of white ethnicities rather than black. Irene’s ability to pass is the way she looks like other races and uses this to allow her to get to the top
The author establishes her ethical appeal, by providing the reader with a vivid image of how her childhood was growing up colored. She let the readers see through her eyes by providing common grounds, with people of color. Growing up in an exclusively colored town, and only seen whites occasionally, gives the author no reason to see herself as colored,
Nella Larsen brings in the discussion of race and how different individuals who identify as “black” or “white” view themselves. It talks about both the absence and presence of self through the use of the characters, Irene and Clare. In Passing, it shows how Irene identify herself as “black” but passes off as “white” in comparison to Clare who identifies herself as “white” and hence passes off as “white”. However, some critics argue that Irene portrays a sense of self through Irene’s sense of identity of being a “mother” and “black” through her community. Other critics put forth the notion that Clare portrays an absence of self through her final actions when she jumped off the window and disappears from the scene after her husband calls her a “nigger”. I will be taking a postmodern approach to the text and supplementing it with modernism and psychoanalytic theories before stating my final stance that postmodernism may be the most appropriate approach. This approach ensures that different perspectives are present in my analysis and ensures that it is not one-sided. The question that I hope to focus my argument on is “Does the postmodernist approach better emerge the idea of self from racism?”
Clare Kendry lived a dangerous life, passing as a white woman who seems rather unaware of her African American Heritage. Passing has certainly took a huge toll on Clare, beside her apparent death at the end of the book. To start, Clare’s passing gave her a strong sense of insecurity. As Nella Larsen wrote, “I am beginning to believe…, that no one is ever completely happy, or free, or safe”(pg. 67). In this conversation between Clare and Irene, Clare explained that she has no more concerns about being safe ever since she has passed. Living her life as a fairly-wealthy white woman has made her distant from happiness and security; she has already taken so much risks passing, that in her own words, “one risk more or less, if we’re not safe anyone,
The story takes place at the height of the Civil Rights Movement in America, when desegregation is finally achieved. Flannery O’Connor’s use of setting augments the mood and deepens the context of the story. However, O’Connor’s method is subtle, often relying on connotation and implication to drive her point across.
important life lessons. The novel “Red Glass” is by Laura Resau, it is about a girl named Sophie who overcame many struggles throughout
According to a bibliography of Larsen, Thadious M. Davis writes, "Larsen was the daughter of a Danish mother and, apparently, a West Indian father; she frequently alluded to her "mulatto" status" (1). A mulatto is a person who is mixed with a white and black ancestry. This explains the Passing demonstrating Clare as a woman who wants to and is able to pass as a white woman. It is possible that Larsen was either able to pass as a white woman, and wrote from experience or wanted to pass as a white woman, but could not, and wrote about it what it would be like if she could. It is also known that Larsen's father passed away when she was two, and her mother remarried. Davis states, "[Larsen] provided no other information about either her natural father or her mother and stepfather. Implicit in her reticence about her background is some discomfort in being the only black member of her immediate family" (1). There must have been issues with the marriage between the marriage between Larsen's mother and Larsen's stepfather. There must have been experiences that led Larsen to write about the life that Irene and Clare were living. The characters are tired and miserable. Irene is true to herself, but is still unhappy in her relationship, and Clare is untrue to herself which brought negativity to her marriage. Larsen was a mixed woman and she must have seen things through her mother's marriage which were not positive due to race. Larsen has felt alienated and lonely due to her being the only black member in her family and that must have also had an impact on her writing Clare's character. Larsen's idea of marriage was shaped from watching her mother and stepfather come together. Irene relationship with Brian represents the lack of communication, and being resentful.
It is often said that a new definition of a woman arose in the 1920s. But is that true? While most women experienced many newfound freedoms in the 1920s, black women could not explore these freedoms as easily as white women. In the novel Passing by Nella Larsen, Irene Redfield and Clare Kendry grew up in Chicago together and are now both two wives and mothers in New York City during the 1920s, but there is a big difference between them. The novel’s title refers to light-skinned black women masquerading as white women for social benefits. Irene and Clare are both light enough to “pass”, but only Clare chooses to pass everyday. Irene passes in trivial situations like getting a cab, buying movie tickets, or getting a table at a restaurant, but
The story “Recitatif” is written by Toni Morrison. The definition of recitatif means among other things or to recite something. In this story, the narrator, Twyla, recites her friendship with Roberta. Roberta and Twyla switch places between being the protagonist and antagonist. The complex characterization structure that “Recitatif” follows makes this story a captivating read.
It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses.” This quotation means that friendship is can be good, and bad. Understanding one another through good, and bad, but allowing the other to get hurt causes greater problems. This quotation relates to the novel Passing because it shows the friendship between two childhood friends who rekindle their friendship as grown adults. The novel Passing, written by Nella Larsen talks about two African American woman with different experiences. The relationship between the two African American woman who share two different lifestyles, but similar in different ways. Throughout the novel it is seen that both characters have many similarities and differences. Irene is a colored woman who is married with two children. Clare is also a colored woman who is also married, but is passing for white by hiding her true
Fish-hound, the main character, is in the Mississippi River. Headeye, another significant character, is trailing him through the river. Fish-hound thinks Headeye is here for finding his prime fishing locations and then tries getting away. Turns out, when Headeye catches up to Fish-hound he tells him that mojo bone is the key to the black experience. Headeye then starts to tell Fish-hound about the story of Ezekiel in the valley of dry bones. The story tells, the bones should be bound up and shall rise again. Fish-hound thinks it is unbelievable and just keeps fishing until a giant boat appears behind him.
Carole is a mixed girl but Henry and Betty Norton, the two antagonists, keep pestering her to find out her race. While they continuously asked her about her race, they were very insensitive and ignorant towards the fact Carole is just a young girl. One of the quotes that really shows this is, “‘What are you, anyway? My wife and I had been wondering.’ Carole blinks, sees the man’s clear blue eyes and drops her head.” (pg.3) because you can see how confused she is by the question. Since she is just a young girl, she was flustered by their continuous questions. Another quote that really proves just how baffled Carole was by the Nortons questions is, “Carole’s mouth drops. Race? What is that? She doesn’t understand. Yet she senses that the man is asking a bad question. It is as if he is asking her something dirty, or touching her in a bad place. She wishes her Mom and Dad were there. They could tell what ‘race’ meant.” (pg.3). This quote shows just how the questions were affecting her. The Norton’s were asking her questions that she had no idea how to answer because she was unsure of what they meant. The questions made her feel uncomfortable and hurt, however, they kept asking Carole about her race. Another example of racism in this short story is how close minded Betty is towards the idea of mixed children in this world.
Nella Larsen’s Passing is a novella about the past experiences of African American women ‘passing’ as whites for equal opportunities. Larsen presents the day to day issues African American women face during their ‘passing’ journey through her characters of Irene Redfield and Clare Kendry. During the reading process, we progressively realize ‘passing’ in Harlem, New York during the 1920’s becomes difficult for both of these women physically and mentally as different kinds of challenges approach ahead. Although Larsen decides the novella to be told in a third person narrative, different thoughts and messages of Irene and Clare communicate broken ideas for the reader, causing the interpretation of the novella to vary from different perspectives.
In the early 1900s racism was still very much alive in Mississippi. Although the relationships of whites and blacks had come a long way in the sense that African Americans could live free lives, many still found their life was controlled by white people. For Essie Mae in the book, Coming of Age in Mississippi, she witnessed these scenarios to be true. Essie Mae was a young African American woman that was very well educated for her age and began to understand what type of environment she was growing up in. As events played out in her life she quickly realized the world to be hostile to all African Americans. In this story, it’s very clear of the tension that the opposite races are enduring and Essie Mae’s experiences during these times leave her confused. Essie Mae, growing up in the county of Wilkinson, experiences many heated incidences
The novel’s protagonist, Janie Crawford, a woman who dreamt of love, was on a journey to establish her voice and shape her own identity. She lived with Nanny, her grandmother, in a community inhabited by black and white people. This community only served as an antagonist to Janie, because she did not fit into the society in any respect. Race played a large factor in Janie being an outcast, because she was black, but had lighter skin than all other black people due to having a Caucasian ancestry. As a child, Janie did not even realize that she was actually black until she shown in a photograph among a group of white children. After growing up confused about her identity, Janie struggled with conflicting thoughts about love and marriage. Through a series of relationships, Janie found herself constantly struggling against