Passing Nella Larsen Summary

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English literature has always been known to have a controversial side to everything. Many novels and other pieces of literature keep the reader in bewilderment about what is really happening and what the narrator is just imagining. Nella Larsen’s Passing is the story about two middle-class African-Americans who can both pass as white women because of their light complexion. As the novel progresses, Irene’s attraction to Clare starts to affect both their lives and Irene begins imagining things and starts to lose her mind. In the novel Passing by Nella Larsen, she shows the reader that what happens on the surface is not the reality. She does this through Clare’s passing, Irene’s relationship with Clare and how Clare hides her emotions from the…show more content…
As the novel progresses, the reader can start to see the distinction between what Irene is imagining and what is actually happening. During the novel, Irene is contemplating whether or not Clare is having an affaire with Brian. She says to herself “Clare Kendry! So that was it! Impossible. It couldn't be” (Larsen 70). This citation shows the reader that Irene is unable to differentiate between the surface and the reality. She is quickly drawn to false assumptions which is why near the end of the novel, she begins to slowly lose her mind. Furthermore, throughout the novel, Irene is constantly saying how she does not want to see Clare anymore and keeps her away from the black population of Harlem. Irene says: “I don’t care where you go, or what you do. [...] To put it frankly, I shouldn’t like to be mixed up in any row of the kind. (Larsen 55). This passage shows Irene explaining to Clare why she does not want her coming to the dance. On the surface, it seems that Irene does not like Clare and that she does not want her to come to social events of the black society. However, in reality, Irene feels an attraction to Clare, and to Clare’s freedom. She cannot live without her which is why she can never refuse Clare’s demands. This is how Lasen shows the reader the difference between the surface and reality of the
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