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Research papers on larsens quicksand and passing

Introduction " the feeling of smallness which had hedged her [Helga] in, first during her sorry unchildlike childhood among hostile white folk in Chicago, and later during her uncomfortable sojourn among snobbish black folk in Naxos.

Both, interracial "hostile white folk" and intraracial "snobbish black folk" constructions of racism are considered within the text. The heroine, Helga Crane, moves to several places throughout the novel and in all of these locations she has to face stereotypes which restrain and oppress her.

Helga is forced to fight "against imposed definitions of blackness and womanhood"2 which are inflicted on her by an oppressive white and black society.

Nella Larsen

Consequently, when discussing the topic racism in Quicksand, one must keep in mind the importance of the mutual influence and the coaction between race and gender.

Published in 1928, it is set in the 1920's and 1930's at the height of the Harlem Renaissance. During that period, Afro-Americans were strictly segregated from white people in all public facilities, for example restaurants, parks and schools.

Although slavery was abolished after the American Civil War the majority of the white population in the USA held fixed prejudices against black people and some even transformed their hatred into violence lynchings and assassinations.

Not until the Civil Rights Movement 1955-68 prohibited discrimination of all kinds, the situation for African descent people improved.

  1. He blames this condition on his environment, the oppressive environment of the South. Nilssen is not at home and Helga surprisingly discovers he has married she introduces herself to Mrs.
  2. Racism is any action, practice, or belief that reflects the racial worldview- the ideology that humans are divided into separate and exclusive biological entities called 'races,' [... Clare came from a lower-class black family but, by marrying John Bellow, rose quickly to the top strata of white society.
  3. What is more, her mother, Karen Nilssen, repudiates Helga "unloved little Negro girls" Q 26 since she indirectly accuses her daughter of her color which is an indication for Karen's condemned interracial marriage.
  4. Similarly to when Helga arrived in Harlem, she initially feels very content in Copenhagen, where she moves to live with her Aunt Katrina and her husband. Larsen not solely focuses on the common "malicious hatred" Q 26 of white Americans but also considers the unconscious and indirect racism from Europeans who regard Helga as "A decoration.
  5. There are two crucial events in Copenhagen which, I believe, help Helga to forge her own sense of racial identity. In the following, definitions of the terms "racism", "interracial" and "intraracial" will be provided.

In the following, definitions of the terms "racism", "interracial" and "intraracial" will be provided. Racism is any action, practice, or belief that reflects the racial worldview- the ideology that humans are divided into separate and exclusive biological entities called 'races,' [. On the contrary only "members of the economically and culturally dominant race"7 are allowed to profit from "privileges, political power, economic resources, high-status jobs, and unrestricted civil rights"8.

The term interracial simply means "involving people of different races"9 for example as in Quicksand whites and blacks. Interactions between people of the same skin color and ethnic group are generally characterized as intraracial. Interracial Racism Quicksand presents the white racist images of African American people, especially of African American women, during the first decades of the 20th century.

Larsen not solely focuses on the common "malicious research papers on larsens quicksand and passing Q 26 of white Americans but also considers the unconscious and indirect racism from Europeans who regard Helga as "A decoration. The American View on Helga. To America, where Negroes were not people. To America, where Negroes were allowed to be beggars only, of life, of happiness, of security. To America, where everything had been taken from those dark ones, liberty, respect, even the labor of their hands.

It expresses her awareness of her status in America as well as the character's repugnance of returning to this country. Her new husband, "a man of her own race" Q 26as well as Helga's new stepbrothers and sisters, reject Helga due to her blackness with a "savage unkindness" Q 26.

What is more, her mother, Karen Nilssen, repudiates Helga "unloved little Negro girls" Q 26 since she indirectly accuses her daughter of her color which is an indication for Karen's condemned interracial marriage. This oppressive surround makes it impossible for Helga to establish an identification as an African American woman14 in order to accept her African heritage and thus herself. As a result, Helga is full of self-hatred15 "childish self-effacement" Q 26.

When Helga's mother dies, her white stepfamily abandons her, but she is saved by Uncle Peter who sends Helga to "a school for Negroes" Q 26. Not until then is she able to realize that16 "because one was dark, one was not neccessarliy loathsome, and could, therefore, consider oneself without repulsion" Q 26. Helga experiences the same kind of racism when she visits her Uncle Peter in Chicago so as to request for help and especially for money. Nilssen is not at home and Helga surprisingly discovers he has married she introduces herself to Mrs.

Nilssen, a white woman.

  • The white racist society tries to eliminate all kinds of individual and innovative developments22 Q 8 in order to restrain the blacks from gaining strength and developing insubordinate thoughts;
  • Although slavery was abolished after the American Civil War the majority of the white population in the USA held fixed prejudices against black people and some even transformed their hatred into violence lynchings and assassinations;
  • Her dilemma is "-the problem of the color line, the problem of being Black in a country that favored white;
  • It expresses her awareness of her status in America as well as the character's repugnance of returning to this country.

However, the latter does not approve of Helga's appearance and treats her in a very rude and disrespectful manner. The new wife of her uncle makes it unmistakably clear to Helga that she is not her uncle's niece and that they are not related to each other17 Q 31.

Furthermore, she gives Helga to understand that she "mustn't expect anything else" and that Helga "mustn't come here [to their house] anymore" Q 31.

Racism in Nella Larsen's "Quicksand"

This behavior reveals Mrs. Nilssen's profoud aversion in being connected to an African American person.

  1. At first, Helga is fascinated by this image her aunt has created for her, and submits to be dressed at her aunt's whims. From this point forward, he does not let his actions be determined by a white audience.
  2. Lethbridge Undergraduate Research Journal.
  3. However, as one of the only black people in the city, Helga is objectified and viewed as exotic, almost as if she were of another species.
  4. Helga also disliked Anne's hypocrisy; while Anne claimed to dislike white people, she avidly partook in white popular culture, preferring the clothes and music of white culture to black. He uses the power of his own intellect and soul to rise above his oppression.

Having lived more than one year in Harlem, Helga receives a letter from Uncle Peter. It includes "a check for five thousand dollars" Q 57the money he meant to guarantee Helga at his death, and his wish to limit the contact with her in order to satisfy his wife19 who "feels very strongly about this. Uncle Peter, who in fact cares for Helga and wants her to be happy, chooses the most comfortable way and rejects her so as to not endanger his marriage.

Her dilemma is "-the problem of the color line, the problem of being Black in a country that favored white. The last indication for racism in America demonstrated in Quicksand I want to analyse is not restricted to Helga, but also affects the black community in Naxos. In the first chapter of the novel Helga describes a white preacher giving a sermon to the students and teachers in Naxos. In his speech he tells them to be satisfied with their situation and that they must not develop further: The whites suppress the blacks in Naxos and model them after their plans of how the blacks are supposed to behave: The white racist society tries to eliminate all kinds of individual and innovative developments22 Q 8 in order to restrain the blacks from gaining strength and developing insubordinate thoughts.

Penguin Group, 2002 49. Wall, "Passing for What?

The Relationship Between Colour and Identity in the Literature of Nella Larsen and Richard Wright

UP of Virginia, 1995 75. Oxford UP, 2000 680. Oxford UP, 1989 169. However, her point of view changes when she realizes: