Homosexuality In The Passing

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In Nella Larsen’s novel, The Passing, Irene Redfield is an outgoing Harlem woman. She opens a letter from Clare Bellew, who is married to a white man who does not know that his wife is black. Clare insists that she is lonely, isolated as she is from her own people, and she asks Irene to meet her again. Irene recalls her encounter with Clare in Chicago two years prior, in Clare’s home, she and another light-skinned black woman had been forced to listen to attacks about black people delivered by Clare’s racist husband. Now, Irene understands that Clare wants to use her in order to enter the Harlem society, although still pretending to be white, she can be with her own race. Sexual passing and racial passing play a major role in this novel,…show more content…
Gender is a cultural (man and woman). Sex is the biological, reproductive capacity. Male is the sperm producer. Woman carries the eggs. Sexual passing, is when s/he tries to hide the fact that they are not one certain sexuality. Whether it be, homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual, or asexual. Homosexual is defined as a person who is sexually attracted to people of his/her own sex. Heterosexual is best defined as one who is sexually attracted to people of the opposite sex. Bisexuality is a romantic attraction, sexual attraction or sexual behavior toward both males and females. Being asexual is having without sexual feelings or associations with another. The author Nella Larsen, lets the reader infer that Irene and Clare might possibly have feelings towards each…show more content…
Irene and Clare can been seen as jealous of each other. Irene is mostly jealous of Clare. Irene wants to have Clare’s personality, but she does not want to reveal that she is passing. Irene wants to be Clare. This is identification vs. desire. Irene has the desire to become the person Clare is, but she is not ready to give up certain things to be who she wants to be. Both women are in sexless marriages, this shows the arousing of sexual desires that each woman has in the closeness of their history together, adding to their already established relationship from their childhood. In presenting this idea it shows that men are not the only ones thinking of sex, applied by the absence of their husbands, seen with the travels of Clare’s husband and with Irene’s compliance to her husband’s wishes to sleep in separate rooms. Several parts of the text are presented in this idea of a lesbian relationship between Clare and Irene. It suggests that Clare is the one that initiates the physical relationship, while Irene tries to suppress her initial attraction for Clare. Irene’s descriptions of Clare are always related to the color of red, which can be used to symbolize lust and temptation, which is seen throughout the novel. One very important theme is attachment. This theme applies to Clare, because she is passing for white. She has to be very careful how she lives her life and must be constantly
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