Helga Crane And Emma Lou Morg Character Analysis

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Tenaja Jennings Chris Conlon Literature & Composition Friday, March 14th, 2013 Where do I Belong? Helga Crane and Emma Lou Morgan The Harlem Renaissance was a great burst of creative energy from African Americans of the 1920's which included dance, painting, music, and literature. Nella Larsen, the writer of Quicksand, and Wallace Thurman, the author of The Blacker the Berry, are the two of the most remembered novelists of the Harlem Renaissance. The main characters of these books (Helga Crane and Emma Lou Morgan), both journey through Harlem and other places seeking to find where they belong. Yet, while Helga and Emma Lou share similar racial issues and journey to find the "right sort of people" (B.50), they are fundamentally different…show more content…
In their younger years, they were told they would never fit in due to the color of their skin. In Helga's case because she was bi-racial she was always told. "If you couldn't prove your ancestry and connections, you were tolerated, but you didn't 'belong'." (Q.43). Even when Helga tries to get help from Uncle Peter she is rejected by his wife, Mrs. Nilssen, who tells her directly "Well, he isn't exactly your uncle, is he? Your mother wasn't married, was she? I mean, to your father?...And you mustn't come here any more. It-well, frankly, it isn't convenient." (Q. 61). Mrs. Nilssen’s clear implication is she does not want Helga around because she is half black. On the other hand Emma Lou was too dark and, as a result, did not fit it with the blacks, nor the white. Emma Lou's family foundered of the "Blue Vain Society" in Boise, a group for light skinned African Americans. In this society "Their motto [was] 'Whiter and whiter every generation'" (B. 50). For decades their plan was to marry someone of lighter brown skin so that they could eventually pass for white and integrate into the white world, canceling their blackness entirely. On these terms, Emma Lou is doomed to failure because her mother married Jim Morgan who has very dark skin, and their daughter is inescapable black. Soon these two characters run into problems and begin journeying to finding where they

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