Saturday, June 1, 2019
Passing Essay -- Literary Analysis, Nella Larsen
Nella Larsens Passing tells the story of the reconnection of two childhood friends whose lives take divergent paths. Through these characters Larsen weaves together a cautionary tale intimately the consequences of living a double life, and the harm associated with internalized racism. Through Clair and Irene, Larsen conveys to readers the consequences of desiring to live life as a bicultural individual during the early 20th century. Claire represents the archetypical character know as the tragic mulatto, as she brings tragedy to all those she encounters. Irene represents someone grappling with internalized racism catalyzed by Claires reentrance into her life. Larsen juxtaposes the two characters to demonstrate the inescapability of social regulations. Clare attempts to escape the social barriers laid upon African-Americans, and she does, but not without consequence. Through diction, tone, and imagery Larsen makes it luminous to readers that passing may seem glamorous, however, th e sacrifice one makes to do so is not without consequences for themselves and those they care about. sad mulatto characters such as Clare transport unforeseen horrors when they make the selfish decision to reinsert themselves back into the world they so desperately desired to flee. Larsen makes this point clear finished the diction she uses when describing the self-esteem destruction Irene undergoes once Clare has reinserted herself into Irenes life, and the situations Irene finds herself as a direct result of Clare. Prior to Clares reentrance into her life Irene is a self-assured, independent, and confident woman however, she soon turns self-conscious, dependent, and hesitant. Upon viewing Clare at the hotel Irene is struck by Clares ... ...s appealing it is not without consequence. Clare, and those who choose to pass, are not free to embrace their whole identity and pass on always remain a threat to those they come in contact. Clare exemplified the archetypal characte r of the tragic mulatto, as she bought tragedy to her own life and all those she came in contact. Clares presence forced Irene to contend with feelings of internalized racism, and thus feelings of inferiority. Through diction, tone, and imagery Larsen makes it luminous to readers that passing may seem glamorous, however, the sacrifice one makes to do so is not without consequences for themselves and those they care about. Larsen does not allow her readers to perch on the belief that once a member of the dominate group ones life is not without chafe and suffering. Every action, even those that seem to make life easier, have consequences.