Summary Of Passing By Nella Larsen

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Passing, a novella written in the late 1920s, depicts important messages of identity, race, and relationships through Larsen’s portrayal of characters and use of story plot. Larsen typically wrote in the time setting in which she lived, the early twentieth century. During this time, being a person of color was frowned upon. Being Caucasian allowed individuals to have certain rights and superiority above individuals with African American decent. Certain laws, such as the Jim Crow Laws, enforced racial segregation and mandated the separation of whites and people of color in public places. Nella Larsen ties in the importance of this time, and the difficulties that were faced by people of color, with a fictional drama of an unfaithful marriage. …show more content…

Irene soon pieced together and suspected Brains attraction to Clare, and the possibility of an affair taking place. “Strange, that she couldn’t now be sure that she had ever truly known love. Not even for Brian. He was her husband and the father of her sons. But was he anything more?” (Larsen, Passing, 201). With the knowledge of the infidelity in her relationship, Irene questions the love between her and her husband, and the conflict caused by Clare grew. “In conventional works, the passer learns that, regardless of the motivations for passing, such a choice has overwhelming costs. These novels end with the characters' returning to the safe confines of the supportive Black community. Larsen, obviously aware of the traditions before her, chooses not to depict such serene returns for her characters in Passing” (Little 173). In returns to the black community, Clare’s true race is discovered by her white husband, and ultimately results in her tragic death. Nella Larsen broke away from the typical foreshadowed ending, and created an ironic twist of events to the conflict of the …show more content…

I am able to relate to Irene's character because although she is not of mixed race, she carries the same values in a relationship as myself. Irene Redfield believes that being a mother to her two boys is important and wants to work to maintain her marriage with her husband for the sake of her children. Personally, I have the same values in the sense that when I get married and have children, I want to stay in a committed relationship working to overcome obstacles, so my children can grow up with both parents. In the novel Quicksand, Helga is a women of mixed race who ventures to find a place where she belongs. In a way, I can relate to Helga because I have traveled from different schools and communities in my childhood, typically communities that consisted of white race. As a girl of color, I wanted to see people that were more like myself, be in an environment of people that were my

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