Gender Themes By Nella Larsen

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Nella Larsen creates a fascinating look at the life of women who subjected themselves to passing in 1920’s Harlem. As a true page-turner, I was not sure if I should focus on the racial passing theme or the understated theme of sexuality. Larsen develops two characters who not only conceal their racial identities but also use their race as a benefit in specific situations. Not only are Clare and Irene’s racial identity concealed, Larsen also conceals their emotional connections. The concealment of emotions leads to a fateful climax that provides the reader with insight into the terrible power and uncertainty social conflicts can impose upon a race of people.
The key theme in this book would be the question of how a person identifies themselves

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