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Writer Nella Larsen
Each and every writer of any article or book always gets the urge or inspiration to write on a particular topic or theme from some quarters. Some writers are inspired by events from the past or the society they are living at times the experiences in life that a person goes through inspires a person to write either to bring out the ills in the society or to serve as an inspiration to people who may be in the same situation. One such person who has written an exemplary novel on an issue that affected people like her is Nella Larsen in her novel “passing.”
Nella Larsen was born on the 13th of April 1891 in the City of Chicago; her father was West Indian and her mother Danish. Plainly put she was of a mixed race just as the main characters in her novel when she was young she spent a lot of time in Denmark. She also did spend some time in the United States of America where she had gone to study in the University of Fisk (Larsen, pg 10).
Nella Larsen’s story in the novel takes place in the Chicago and New York Cities more in particular Harlem between the years 1925 and 1927. This is the time that there was mass migration of African Americans from the south into the North or most commonly known as the “Great Migration.” The movement had been fuelled by the job opportunities in the North and the yearning by the African Americans to flee from the perils of the Jim Crow in the south. To some Light skinned African Americans this gave them a chance to “pass”, which technically meant to pretend to be whites. Thus the novels name “Passing” (Larsen, pg 10).
Passing is the story of two women, in two different cities, two very unhappy families, and two different races. The story focuses on two light skinned black women namely Irene Redfield and Clare Kendry, the two women were great friends during their childhood furthermore both can pass as white women. The story unfolds when the two women meet by chance after some years and start talking about their lives. Irene is married to a prominent African- American doctor, she passes as white when very necessary such as when she wants to make use of some amenities that other races are entitled to except the blacks. On the other hand Clare is married to a very prominent white businessman; Clare does not only pass for a white but has adopted the white identity, furthermore she has daughter (Larsen, pg 20).
The development stirs Irene’s interest even though her inner feelings tell her to keep away from Clare; she ignores and decides to revive their childhood friendship. On one of her visits to Irene Clare meets another one of their childhood friend by the name Gertrude who is also married to a white man, unlike Clare’s husband who is a racist Gertrude’s husband is aware of her background but is not worried about it (Larsen, pg 80). The story continues with the discovery of the lives of the two women. Clare misses her people; on the other hand her frequent visits to Irene’s place might give away her true identity but she chooses to work on the strained relation ship between the one time great friends. Irene’s relation ship with her husband is on the rocks; the stability of the marriage is in doubt as her husband wants to leave the United States of America for Brazil as he is tired of the treatment the blacks are being subjected to. The novel also b.............
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