The Passing

Powerful Essays
Role of Appearance, Racial, and Social Identity view throughout Passing

“Passing” is the movement of a person who is legally or socially black designated into a white racial category or social identity. “Passing”; a product that came out of Plessy v. Ferguson indicating the equalities between racial identities to become very blatant in social, political, educational, and economic areas that increased and mainly focusing on visually light-skinned women and men being declared “Colored” or “Negro” and more associated with a second class citizenship. Within Passing, Larsen portrays Clare and Irene as women who choose their racial identities. Defining it as “passing in a meeting between Clare and Irene as a simple but ‘hazardous business’,” requiring the “breaking away from all that was familiar and friendly to take one’s chance in another environment that isn’t entirely strange or friendly” (Larsen ix). By changing the definition of the ability to read racial and social contexts and changing their environment or social class disrupts the ultimate stereotyping that occurs in society. This entitles individuals to both basic human and constitutional rights. However “passing” raises issues forcing to conform to a stereotype that embraces the appearance of skin, color and race. Appearance, racial, and social identity are constructed to suppress the individuals heritage and history which is shown somewhat in the case of Plessy v. Ferguson, but is better portrayed in the infamous Rhinelander case that occurred during the same period as Passing. The argument presented is that women, in particular, should not have to physically and mentally askew their appearance, racial, and social status to meet the basic standards of citizenship. Larsen provides more than one direct way of expressing “passing” because her entire novel is a story that is based on its existence entirely. The argument that is posed is why ‘passing’ is looked down upon but at the same time embraced and

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Better Essays

    Passing

    • 1061 Words
    • 5 Pages

    The Root of Jealousy In Nella Larsen's Passing, Irene Redfield and Clare Kendry show us a great deal about race and sexuality in the 1920s. Both are extremely light-skinned women of African-American descent. However similar they appear to be, their views on race, a very controversial issue at the time, differ significannot ly. Clare chooses to use her physical appearance as an advantage in America's racist and sexist society, leaving behind everything that connects her to her African-American…

    • 1061 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Better Essays

    Passing

    • 1247 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Sexual Attraction In Passing In Passing, Nella Larsen’s focuses on the 1920’s, a time when African American people played a major role in society and culture. Although black people were very prominent during this time, the denial of racial identity in order to achieve success was an issue. Throughout the novella, attraction to the unknown leads to a question of sexuality. Irene is sexually attracted to Clare and the allure of risk she brings with her. Clare’s attraction to Irene, however, is…

    • 1247 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    The Passing

    • 2540 Words
    • 11 Pages

    The following essay, “All It Takes Is One Good Ceremony,” is an example of a sound discussion that focuses on one luminous detail – the color blue. All It Takes Is One Good Ceremony Leslie Marmon Silko’s novel, Ceremony, is filled with numerous networks of images. The most notable images are bathed in the color blue and are found in the natural and unnatural worlds, as well as the spiritual and physical worlds. The color blue abounds in the story of Tayo’s journey. Tayo has just…

    • 2540 Words
    • 11 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Essay On Passing

    • 1738 Words
    • 7 Pages

    Discuss the ways in which passing and the prime present character who buck societal convention and the sequences there of. In the two novel the prime of Miss Jean Brodie and Passing by Muriel Spark and Nella Larsen, respectively connect with some social unconventional characters which is control over someone, selfishness, betray to satisfy own desires and construction of race. In 1929, Larsen wrote passing, a novel that portrays the physiological-social problem trough “passing” a phenomenon which describes…

    • 1738 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    Passing Storm

    • 452 Words
    • 2 Pages

    Passing Storm over the Sierra Nevadas is a scenic, oil on canvas that is beautifully displayed at the San Antonio Museum of Art. Albert Bierstadt created the work of art in 1870. Bierstadt was born in Germany in 1830 and at the age of two his family moved to Massachusetts, he soon went back to study in Germany where he developed his art abilities. Many of Albert’s art pieces glorify landscapes vividly on actual places he visited while traveling the American West; his fascination with the landscapes…

    • 452 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Racial Passing

    • 922 Words
    • 4 Pages

    Racial passing was a common phenomenon in the early 20th century. With the onset of Jim Crow laws and unbridled racism, it seemed advantageous to some to forgo their racial identity for something more favorable. This particular notion of passing is most prevalent; however, the definition need not be so narrow. Passing is defined as “a deception that enables a person to adopt certain roles or identities from which he would be barred by prevailing social standards in the absence of his misleading conduct”…

    • 922 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The Passing of Grandison

    • 761 Words
    • 4 Pages

    Charles Chesnutt's "The Passing of Grandison" (p. 472-483) used satire and humor to expose the common stereotype that southern whites believed about black slaves. The word passing in the title usually refers to an African American, usually light skinned, passing for white, but in the case of this story, the term passing takes on a completely different meaning. In this story, the instead of passing for white, the main character, Grandison seems to be passing as something that he really isn't, and…

    • 761 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Passing In Soccer

    • 547 Words
    • 3 Pages

    play this sport like passing, receiving a pass, dribbling, and shooting. Each position on the soccer field targets different skills, but all of them have fundamental skills. The goalkeeper on the other hand has different skill sets because they don’t focus their feet, but instead their hands. When playing soccer, a player must be able to build on these skills in order to become a better player (Callaway). Passing is one of the most fundamental skills in soccer because with passing players move the ball…

    • 547 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Jealousy In Passing

    • 1005 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Passing Essay In the novel Passing by Nella Larsen, Clare Kendry and Irene Renfield present two different perspectives. During the Renaissance both these characters are able to pass as white, however Irene decides to stay in the African American community, and Clare decides to move on from her upbringing and join the white society. They come from the same background, but end up living completely different lives. Their relationship very much conflicts with the way they live their lives. When they…

    • 1005 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Passing of Title

    • 673 Words
    • 3 Pages

    buy 200 australian wine from a bulk retailer. contract is made on term that the retailer will store for pickup for 3 weeks. In the meantime before pickup the retailer goes bankrupt. Has the title passed ? The Passing of Title The basic rule The basic rule as to the passing of title is in section 18 of sales of goods act. Which states;- Where there is a contract for the sale of unascertained goods, no property in the goods is transferred to the buyer unless and until the goods are ascertained…

    • 673 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays