S-Space Researcher Institutes (연구소) American Studies Institute (미국학연구소) 미국학 미국학 Volume 40 Number 1/2 (2017)
Internal Desires, Questions of Identities and External Outcomes in Nella Larsen’s Passing
- Ahn, Laura
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 미국학연구소
- 미국학, Vol.40 No.2, pp. 77-102
- In Passing, Nella Larsen explores the general themes of “passing,” that is, one race attempting to be taken as another, through the actions of her two protagonists, Irene Redfield and Clare Kendry. While Clare is able to pass as a white woman, she still secretly longs for acceptance into black society. Her counterpoint, Irene, while having been accepted into black society, disparages the very notion of passing. That being said, Irene's actions appear to negate this belief and betray her internal desires to also be accepted into white society. Furthermore, Clare is unable to fully pass due to her inclination towards the society that she had outwardly rejected. Through these two female characters, Larsen poignantly illustrates that pervasive internal desires are the predominant determiners of external outcomes, regardless of established outward behaviors, opinions, or beliefs.