Nella Larsen: The Complexities Of Race And Gender

991 Words4 Pages

As a black woman in a patriarchal society, Janie faces multiple forms of oppression and discrimination based on her race and gender. Janie's first husband, Logan Killicks, represents the intersection of racism and sexism in her life. As a black man, Logan faces his own struggles in society, but he also perpetuates patriarchal ideals by viewing Janie as his property and expecting her to conform to traditional gender roles. Janie's second husband, Joe Starks, embodies the intersection of racism, sexism, and classism. As a wealthy and successful black man, Joe holds power and privilege over Janie, and he uses this power to control and dominate her. He sees her as a subordinate rather than an equal partner, and his behavior reflects both sexist …show more content…

Larsen was born in Chicago to a Danish mother and a West Indian father, which led to her being labeled as a mulatto or mixed-race woman. Her biracial identity became an important theme in her writing, as she explored the complexities of race, gender and class in early 20th-century America. Larsen began her career as a nurse and later worked as a librarian, which gave her the opportunity to meet and interact with people from different walks of life. Her personal experiences and observations of the racial and social hierarchies of the time informed her writing. Despite two novels, Quicksand (1928) and Passing (1929) which rapidly established her reputation Larsen staged a theatrical departure from the literary scene in 1937. (She telephoned all her friends with the message "I arrive at once" and was never seen again.) Larsen's approach to writing was more conventional than Hurston's, as she adhered to the conventions of realism and naturalism in her novels. The particularity of her novels lies in their in-depth exploration of the psyche of mixed-race women who exist between the black and white worlds, portraying a new image of urban mixed-race women and depicting their confusion, identity, and self-definition, attempting to correct the tragic mulatto[ the first-generation offspring of a Black person and a white person] tradition in African American

Open Document