An analysis of the novel passing by nella larson

The letter angers Irene, though the reason why is not yet clear. The narrative then flashes back to two years before, when Irene is shopping for souvenirs for her sons in the sweltering heat. Irene, who lives in Harlem, is visiting her father in Chicago, where Irene grew up. Irene is about to faint when a friendly driver helps her into his car and offers to drive her to the Drayton, a white hotel, so that she can buy an iced tea.

An analysis of the novel passing by nella larson

The thing that bound and suffocated her. Whatever steps she took, or if she took none at all, something would be crushed. A person or the race. Clare, herself, or the race.

And all because she thinks Clare might be having an affair with her husband. Thematic Analysis This quote seems pretty simple, right? For starters, Irene is a lot like Clare. And betraying her own desire to appear white.

What does it mean for Irene to show allegiance to "her race"? Especially when, right after that, she goes on to think, "Race!

Form and Content

Or is she hoping for freedom from the confines of her blackness in a racist world—of a skin color that keeps her from fully enjoying the privileges of the white world?

Or is Irene bemoaning the very concept and reality of race and racial prejudice?

An analysis of the novel passing by nella larson

And the fact that racial division is what has trapped her and Clare in this awful situation in the first place? All of the above, we think.

Irene describes her "two allegiances" as "different, yet the same. Just imagine what Irene must be feeling. Stylistic Analysis Notice all those short, short sentences in the passage above? And what does that fragmentation produce? Two parts to herself.

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Irene and Clare are black, but their light skin allows for them to pass as white. Clare is the one who introduced Irene to the whole idea of passing, so Irene is really torn between three parts: Now, do you think that if the African American man must go through life with the sense of a double-consciousness, that means that African American women experience themselves through a triple-consciousness?

Just a little something to make you go "hmm," courtesy of your friends here at Shmoop. Oh, and Nella Larsen, we guess.Passing is the second novel by Harlem Renaissance writer Nella Larsen.

This novel follows the relationship between two childhood friends, one who is proud of her racial heritage and one who has passed into the white world to marry for wealth.

Clare, an African American character in Nella Larsen’s Passing, referred to a comment made by her racist white husband, saying that “everything must be paid for” (Larsen, 71). Throughout the book, this comment was especially poignant in terms of passing.


Clare notes that passing is a "a frightfully easy thing to do. If one's the type, all that's needed is a little nerve" (25) and that white people aren't nearly as obsessed with .

Critical Review of Passing by Nella Larsen The novel “The Passing”, stresses strongly on the capability of individuals being able to identify their race and background while others fall short on wanting to tell the truth on who they are. That's Irene's dilemma in this book. She thinks about all the ways she could get rid of the other woman, Clare—including telling Clare's white, racist husband that she is actually a black woman passing as white.

Nella Larsen’s Passing opens with the protagonist Irene reading the second letter she has ever received from her childhood acquaintance Clare, in which Clare asks Irene if they can see each other. The letter angers Irene, though the reason why is not yet clear.

Nella Larsen, Passing ()