Social interactions among ethnic groups are getting more common nowadays. As a result, the population of interracial marriages and partnerships have gradually expanded.
Clare Kendry, who breaks the tragic mulatto stereotype, never has the chance to align to a particular race because of her untimely death, while Irene Redfield, who becomes obsessed with and jealous of Clare, single-handedly destroys her own sense of self by committing psychological suicide.
Nella Larsen herself wrestles with identity, as she was raised in an all-white household after her father, a black West Indian, disappeared from her life; her own struggle identifying with other people leads to a modernist expression of delusion, uncertainty and ambiguity in her novellas. In addition, Larsen attempts to pass not only her characters, but herself as a novelist and her novel as a fiction.
By exposing the convention of the mulatto as unsympathetic instead of tragic, Larsen ironically captures her readers. Both Clare and Irene fail in trying to pinpoint their identities, and by offering nothing but ambiguity in the point of view and the final scene of the novella, Larsen presents identity itself as ambiguous, transient, and never fully identifiable.
In order to successfully destabilize the determinacy of identity, we must first define identity, and then understand how that definition does and does not work in an analysis of Passing. A person with identity possesses a sense of self, or a sense of belonging within a certain culture or people, and a personality that rarely changes.
Identity, therefore, is the condition of being oneself, and not someone else. The women in Passing do not adhere to the above characteristics. They remain detached and isolated from their race and gender, even though they try desperately to sustain identities appointed to them by society.
Both, eventually, fail; Clare falls to her death, and Irene destroys the one person she desires most. The following paragraphs examine Clare and Irene separately, analyzing the way they view each other as carriers of racial and gender identity, and how Larsen deconstructs those through ambiguous writing or plot devices.
The tragic mulatto refers to someone of both black and white descent who passes as white in present society, and experiences some sort of tragic longing for the culture they left behind. Thus, the tragic mulatto perpetuates the idea that someone born of mixed races lives in a persistent state of confused self-identity, and that the only freedom from this confusion is death.
Therefore, she is an exception to the case. Her only motive for passing is to obtain money and social worth, which she achieves by marrying a prestigious yet racist John Bellew. Clare is an outsider to her race, but expresses no fear or grief upon deserting that identity.
Clare represents a dramatized version of the other women in the novella; like them, she depends on her husband for class stature, desires material possession, security, and identity. But the strain of keeping up appearances is too much, and her untimely and often criticized death in the end of the novella, analyzed later in this essay, shows how Larsen spins the problem of the tragic mulatto to encompass the problem of identity.
By expressing the mulatto as dangerous instead of tragic, Larsen flouts the identity most associated with the mulatto, showing that trying to identify identity is not only futile, but fatal. She considers herself high-ranking in society because of her marriage to a prominent doctor, and thus judges other women by their husbands, as well.
As a result of her insecurity, Irene becomes paranoid, constructing a situation wherein her husband is cheating on her with Clare; thus, her psychological paranoia takes over her once calculated actions.
After being taken down twice by Blogger within a single week, we got the message: It’s Time To Go. Gates of Vienna has moved to a new address. confusion regarding rejecting one side of their heritage; but the resolution leads to the next stage. Important adults in the child's life need to assist in this resolution. Stage 3. Biracial Identity. Between age 8 and Children learn that their color/features are from both parents, and that they have the combined heritage of both parents. Larsen’s own novel, as well as her characters, attempts to pass. In the novella, Larsen portrays race as a deciding factor in identity diagnosis. Racial passing connotes the transition of a member of the black community into the white community. Not surprisingly, this .
Eventually, in trying to reject and renounce these feelings, Irene commits psychological suicide. Larsen supplies what words she might have said in the description that follows, containing adjectives of veneration such as: In those eyes, Irene sees her own insecurities, her own vulnerability, reflected back at her.
In the novella, Larsen portrays race as a deciding factor in identity diagnosis. Racial passing connotes the transition of a member of the black community into the white community. Not surprisingly, this form of identity classification was popular in the s.
Nella Larsen knew that her novel, therefore, responded to the times by addressing the tragic mulatto story, but that it differed largely from other stories by addressing something other novelists had rarely touched upon: While the golden, extravagant Clare, as the embodiment of the tragic mulatto, attempts to pass as white and straight, security-loving Irene attempts to pass as sane and straight.
Clare dies moments after her husband learns her secret, and Irene spirals to jealousy and paranoia, and that is how Larsen shows the impossibility of defining identity.
After living at home, Larsen became devoted to studying the rift between black and white.
She finally settled for eight years at Tuskegee Institute, where she worked as a nurse and a librarian. Nella Larsen was recognized in by winning a Guggenheim, a creative writing award, and then traveled to Spain to write a third novel.
Larsen arguably never solved the problem of ambiguity about how to define herself.A few nights ago, Katie Vyktoriah started getting her son Dexter ready for a trip to Wal-Mart: After struggling to get him dressed and get his shoes on, I had to pry an overlarge teddy bear out of Dexter’s arms, as he was set on taking him with us.
Yesterday I heard the sad news that Prof.
For example, the biracial offspring often experience difficulties with gender confusion, self-hatred, alcohol and other drug abuse, suicide, delinquency, alienation, and denial of self, as well as racial self-identity (Benson, ). IDENTITY VERSUS IDENTITY CRISIS INTRODUCTION Our group decided to have a case study on a subject who involved in a group called Skinhead. This is a true story of a person that is closely related with one of our group members. The concept of Social identity was used by Michener (, p. 85) as the definition of self in term of social relationships. In more detail, the term identity describes the relationship within one’s self or between one’s self and others (Woodward, , p. 1). Besides, Rummens (, p.
Walter Lewin, age 78—perhaps the most celebrated physics teacher in MIT’s history—has been stripped of his emeritus status and barred from campus, and all of his physics lectures removed from OpenCourseWare, because an internal investigation found that. After being taken down twice by Blogger within a single week, we got the message: It’s Time To Go.
Gates of Vienna has moved to a new address. For example, the biracial offspring often experience difficulties with gender confusion, self-hatred, alcohol and other drug abuse, suicide, delinquency, alienation, and denial of self, as well as racial self-identity (Benson, ).
I certainly didn't. So you make a choice: continue living your life feeling muddled in this abyss of self-misunderstanding, or you find your identity independent of it. IDENTITY VERSUS IDENTITY CRISIS INTRODUCTION Our group decided to have a case study on a subject who involved in a group called Skinhead.
This is a true story of a person that is closely related with one of our group members.