Essay on The 's Search For Identity

2457 Words 10 Pages
Have you ever blended a chicken Top Ramen flavoring packet into your strawberry smoothie? Do you cut your vegetables with a straw? Just as a chicken, strawberry smoothie is appalling and using a straw as a knife is unacceptable, so was the racial mixing of Nella Larsen’s white mother and black father in the late 1800s. Growing up as a biracial woman during a time of black discrimination from whites, she could never find her place in the world. She never belonged to the persecuted blacks or the persecuting whites. Larsen’s search for identity is expressed in her first novel, Quicksand. The protagonist, Helga Crane, is in constant unrest, because she also has a mixed background. She bounces back and forth between black and white communities trying to find where she belongs, but wherever she goes, she never feels like she belongs because of her varied heritage. Nella Larsen lived in times of racial inequality and grew up as an outcast; therefore, she wrote Quicksand which includes unsatisfying settings, tragic characters, and a theme about finding your identity. Leading up to the Harlem Renaissance, African Americans experienced severe discrimination from whites, causing them to communicate dissatisfaction in their works. When a million blacks moved to the North from the South in search for a job, men could only get the dirtiest industrial jobs, and domestic labor was the one option for women (“The African American Experience”). Though blacks were no longer slaves, they were…

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