The novel Passing by Nella Larsen is a twisted story of the fate of two “passing” women during the Harlem Renaissance. Irene and Clare are the main characters who are considered to be “passing” and I am going to take a look into the relationship between the two. Throughout the novel Passing, Irene is often portrayed as jealous and envious of Clare Kendry. This, as well as certain evidence from Felise’s party at the end of the novel all lead me to interpret that Irene murdered Clare by pushing her out of the window.
There are certain events that took place at Felise’s party that help prove that Irene did in fact push Clare out the window. Early on in the party, on page 78, there is a scene where Irene is smoking a cigarette. We read, “Irene finished her cigarette and threw it out, watching the tiny spark drop slowly to the white ground below.” I interpret this to be a clear, descriptive case of foreshadowing as to what happens with Clare on the next page. You will throughout the book notice that Irene tends to drift off in thought about some pretty weird stuff. Right after this, on page 79, you read “It was the smile that maddened Irene. She ran across the room, her terror tinged with ferocity, and laid a hand on Clare’s bare arm. One thought possessed her. She couldn’t have Clare Kendry cast aside by Bellew. She couldn’t have her free.” This doesn’t state clearly what is happening but I believe that this is the start of the murder. This takes place right after Bellew is yelling at Clare for being black. When the author states that she couldn’t have Clare cast aside by Bellew, I believe that means that she can’t have Clare and Bellew get divorced because that would make Clare more of a threat to Irene and her life. It is this little meticulous thinking of Irene throughout the book that kind of tells you she is not good and not right in the head. Furthermore, you read “One moment Clare had been there, a vital glowing thing, like a flame of red and...
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