Nella Larsen, Half Way Done

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Nella Larsen’s response and actions, in the article done by Hildegard Hoeller, “Race, Modernism, and Plagiarism: The Case of Nella Larsen’s ‘Sanctuary’”, reminds me of a child whose hand was caught trying to steal cookies out of a cookie jar. Sanctuary by Nella Larsen was a story that dealt with racial implications and motherhood, which when reading the story it a very good narrative. Even though that there can be a claim that Nella Larsen did not steal this story, claiming it is, “part of ‘almost black folklore’(424)”,meaning that people in African society during this time were very common with the story. The claim that Larsen is making doesn’t really convince many literary authors because of the loose ends, the story in comparison to Sheila Kaye-Smith’s Mrs. Adis, is too similar for this story to not be plagiarized. The basic response done by Nella Larsen, to the accusation that she plagiarized the story, is basically her blaming race. Hoeller explains, “…the telling and origin of which can be placed in time and space and author. Once she talks to blacks-and removes herself from a white paradigm-she learns how to read the story now as ‘absolute’ truth but as part of racial commonwealth that belongs to all black people and that has been shaped and reshaped hundreds of times (424)” Meaning that Nella believes that it is not her fault the story was already told and that if anything Harlem Renaissance society should be credited to the story, not Sheila Kaye-Smith. “The racial nature of this paradigm shifts is accentuated by Larsen’s starkly racial description of the hospital. Apart from the old woman, her source and hospital ‘inmate’, no one is named; characters are just labeled as black or white (425)”. Cheryl Wall makes an interesting claim towards the actions by Nella Larsen, “Larsen’s account may not be a total fabrication but it contains a signal flaw. No source for the story in the ‘folk’ tradition has ever been identified (424)”. An interesting point,...
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