Nella Larsen's Passing Analysis

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Novels are constantly evolving over time, yet despite time passing, some novels continue to represent women as sexualized objects. The female characters in Nella Larsen’s Passing, first published in 1929 but takes place in the 1920s, and Junot Díaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, published in 2007 but takes place from the 1940s to the 1990s, are subject to this representation because both novel’s narrators place an emphasis on physical features. Although both novels take place in different times and settings, both novels are creating and representing women as exotic sexualized objects because of their gender and race. Larsen and Díaz’s emphasis on the blackness of female characters demonstrates the timelessness of the importance …show more content…
Jordan Landry simply describes that, “Through fixation on Clare 's eyes, Irene remembers consciously the link between Clare 's eyes and her black grandmother, signifying her desire for a sign, a text, that will lead her back to African-American ancestry” (Landry 41). Thus, the allure to Clare’s eyes is revealing a hidden desire in Irene to be more connected to her African-American culture. Clare’s black eyes are the link to that heritage. Essentially, it is the physical features that describe a person: their history and …show more content…
Misogyny and machismo are the platform for this phenomenon in The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Fremio Sepulveda in “Coding the Immigrant Experience: Race, Gender and the Figure of the Dictator in Junot Diaz 's ‘Oscar Wao’” ascertains: “Yunior replicates moreover Trujillo 's macho ideology when he repeatedly reduces Beli to her body, to an object that attracts and demands to be looked at and possessed” (Sepulveda 29). Preexisting machismo in the Dominican Republic is amplified in the novel through Yunior’s narration. Yunior is blatantly misogynistic and sexist; these ideals are reflected in his portrayal of Beli. After Beli acquires her curvaceous figure, Yunior narrates that “Gradually Beli began to see beyond the catcalls and the Dios mio asesina and the y ese tetatorio and the que pechonalidad… it dawned on Beli: Men liked her” (Díaz 93). Yunior’s emphasis on what people call Beli highlights the sexualization and objectification coming from these Latino men, including Yunior himself. Beli is still very young at this age, but she is already being objectified and sexualized because of her gender. The men are intrigued by her “exoticness”: her dark skin and extremely curvaceous body. In the latino culture curves are what distinguish women from girls. It is evident this is a machista attitude seeing as Yunior chooses to describe Beli with spanish

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