The American Dream In Passing By Nella Larsen

1975 Words 8 Pages
Passing The novel, Passing by Nella Larsen, tells a story of two African- American women’s during the Harlem renaissance who work hard for the American dream. Larson’s novel demonstrates certain conflicts such as betrayal, jealousy, race, and sexuality. Both Clare and Irene are light skinned who may pass as white. Irene embraces her race while Clare abandons her race by passing as white. Irene works hard for her American dream and as a black woman it is very difficult to become a successful middle class worker during the 1920s. Clare, who is a bit unrestrained and married to a successful white man. Clare lives an exciting and dangerous lifestyle. As Irene struggle to accomplished American dream, she is a manipulative person, which allows her …show more content…
However, Irene passed in order to go inside the Drayton. As Irene is sitting down at the Drayton she notices an attractive woman that she describes as “dark, almost black, eyes and that wide mouth like a scarlet flower against the ivory of her skin” (6). Irene acknowledges Clare smiling at the waiter as she describes “too provocative” at first Irene did not think much about it. Eventually Clare goes up to Irene and they begin to talk to each other. As Clare receive the attention of the waiter, she commands two teas and cigarettes, Larson stated “that odd upward smile. Now, Irene was sure that it was too provocative for a waiter” (10). Irene figures out Clare is black and realized that Clare is passing, which upsets Irene. Larson expresses how surprised Irene was to see Clare. However Clare responds, “‘But I’m not surprised to see you. Rene… In fact, ever since I’ve been here, I’ve more or less hoped that I should, or someone. Preferably you, though. Still, I image that’s because I’ve thought of you often and often’” (11). This statement by Clare expresses on how much she missed Irene. Irene begins to tell Clare about her marriage and kids, but Irene is reluctant to ask about Clare’s life. For Clare, her desire is to reconnect with Irene again. She starts by inviting Irene to dinner and for some tea, but Larson states “that it wouldn’t be possible because she wouldn’t be free for tea, or luncheon or dinner” (14). Irene was not interested in having dinner or tea, but was irritated with Clare. Clare is curious that Irene does not pass, “Tell me, honestly, haven’t you ever thought of passing,” Irene responds directly, “‘No Why Should I?’” (19). For Irene, her thoughts on passing is insulting for the race, however, Irene shows hypocrisy because she is passing as white at the Drayton. When Irene finally accepts Clare’s invitation for tea, Clare’s

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