Passing-Death of Clare

1002 Words5 Pages
The death of Clare at the end of Nella Larsen’s Passing though left unclear was, in my opinion, caused by Irene pushing her out of the window. Nella Larsen does not specify what exactly happened, but Irene pushing Clare out of the window seems like the most plausible one. I don’t know whether Larsen intentionally left the ending so abruptly but I just feel as if Irene was the one to kill Clare. Larsen makes this point clear through the phrasing she uses when describing the self-esteem destruction Irene undergoes once Clare has reinserted herself into Irene's life, and the situations Irene finds herself as a direct result of Clare. Prior to Clare’s reentrance into her life Irene is a self-assured, independent, and confident woman; however, she soon turns self-conscious, dependent, and hesitant. When viewing Clare at the hotel Irene is struck by Clare’s beauty stating, “She’s really almost too good-looking “(Larsen 27). The word “good-looking” shows that Clare is beautiful, however, it is the addition of the word “too” that indications that Irene feels inferior to Clare’s beauty. Clare embodies beauty, as she is “too good-looking”. When Clare requests her presence at tea Irene fears Clare will not believe that she had a previous engagement. Larsen writes, “She was afraid Clare would not believe it” (Larsen 27). It seems foolish that Irene should care what Clare believes of her integrity. Irene’s self-esteem not only continues to deteriorate, but displays of internalized racism begin to present themselves through illogical thought and irrationality. Irene describes Brian in the same way she does Clare as, “extremely good-looking” (Larsen 77). Irene, does not view herself as “good-looking”, therefore she believes herself unworthy of Brian an “extremely good-looking” man, so she assumes Brian and Clare are engaging in an affair. Despite assurances from Brian that he
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