Essay on Passing by Nella Larson

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Nella Larson’s “Passing” Final

Nella Larson’s book, “Passing,” was written during a time of racial complexity. During this period slavery has ended but that has not ended the conflicts of races to occur such as prejudice and segregation. The story being narrated by Irene and is about two childhood friends, Clare Kendry and Irene Redfield, who have similar background because they both were born of mixed races, black and white. These two women have two different experiences in dealing with their racial identity and end growing up with opposite but similar lives from one another. This story deals with racial identity during a time where certain races were of higher statuses than the other. “Passing,” demonstrates many themes present in the story; themes from lies to betrayal, to identity crisis to race barriers. The book narrates the life of two women who are trapped in a black and white world and are having trouble with deciding which race they should identify themselves with. After the encounters, each woman tries to find their identity and each woman in the story experiences a “passing,” of their own. And lingering question remains, is it better to ignore a part of your racial heritage or should you find a way to cope with it? First let’s explore the course of life that Clare Kendry decided to pursue. Clare Kendry, born of African American decent and White decent, decides that she will abandon her African American life and live her life as a White woman, because she feels that it will get her through life a bit easier. She ends up marrying a white doctor name John Bellew, who happens to be very racist and hates black. He often jokes and calls her “Nig” because of her slightly dark skin, but he doesn’t mean it anything more than a joke. She plays the part of the white woman well and tries to hide her past as best she can. “There had been, even in those days, nothing sacrificial in Clare Kendry’s idea of life, no allegiance beyond her own immediate...
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