`` Passing `` By Nella Larson Essay

1954 Words Oct 17th, 2016 8 Pages
To pass is to disguise oneself as a difference race, or more specifically in this context for a black man or woman to pass as white. Some pass for a more advantageous position in society. Others pass out of pure fear for security. Some pass permanently, abandoning their heritage and living a life of hiding and others pass temporarily and sporadically. In the novel, “Passing” by Nella Larson, we are given an in-depth look into the racial struggles that existed in the early twentieth century and the relationship between two women who both pass, but in different ways and for different reasons. This raises more questions about how passing has developed over time and could even be prevalent in today’s society in a different context. To fully understand how these racial issues have evolved into the time period of the novel, we need to look further back into their historical context. Racism has always existed in our country. In a letter that Thomas Jefferson wrote to Francis C. Gray on March 4th, 1815, Jefferson uses mathematics to explain what fractions of African American blood constitute an individual being categorized as white, black, or mulatto. We see a very calculated and seriously thought out argument by Jefferson, who was a slave owner himself and the biological father of mulatto children. This letter clearly implies that being white is universally superior to being black, even though he avoids using the word ‘white’. Jefferson would go as far as implying that being black…

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