The Harlem Renaissance By Nella Larson Essay

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Throughout the Harlem Renaissance, Nella Larson wrote intermittent narratives that emulated portions of her life, such as Passing; these narratives emulate her desire for access to wealth, middle-class comfort, and white privileges. Larsen herself, scuffles with identity after her Negro father from the Virgin Islands dies at her age of two, and her Danish mother marries a man of her race and nationality. At the age of five, Larsen attends a small private school whose pupils were mostly German and Scandinavian. Labeling herself as a mulatto¬¬, a daughter of an interracial family she does not identify a specific connection with her West Indian relatives. Passing protagonists, Irene Redfield, and Clare Kendry also struggle with racial and sexual identities. Clare Kendry breaks the mulatto stereotype by not being able to identify herself with a particular race due to her tragic death. While Irene Redfield’s obsession with Clare, and her values for middle-class standing leads to psychological suicide. Larsen utilizes the main protagonists, Clare Kendry and Irene Redfield, to discuss race “passing”, sexual “passing”, and identification to present the reader their core values.
In the twentieth century, many African Americans claimed to know many people who “passed”. Estimates of light skinned African Americans varied greatly as Randall Kennedy states in “Racial Passing”:
Walter White claimed that annually “approximately 12,000 white-skinned Negroes disappear” into white…

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