Academic Master

English, Philosophy

Theoretical Approach of the novel “Passing”

“Passing” is one well-known novel written by Nella Larsen in 1929. It is one of the good attempts of the author to establish the prestigious position of women in the literary world. This particular novel “Passing” can be characterized as an effective debate on the issue of racism. It is based on the narration of the two women who cross the feature of color in the era of the 1920s. Irene and Clare are the two main characters of the story which helps readers to apprehend the main idea of racism through this story. The specific role of Irene Redfield is crucial in the identification of the aspect of the novel’s protagonist. She effectively aligns herself with the approach of an enviable life. On the other hand, Clare is her childhood friend with whom she had lost touch for a while. Clare is the particular character who is depicted as the charming lady in the story of “Passing.” She had a light-skinned, and beautiful persona that can charm anyone. The conversation between these characters of the story indicates how the feature of racism impacts lives with the consideration of different scenarios. Here the focus is to critically analyze the relationship between the characters of Irene and Clare concerning to the particular theoretical approach.

Irene is the significant character of the story which provides clear indications about the different crucial elements associated with the prospect of racism prevails in society. She portrays herself as a well-educated and sophisticated woman belonging to the particular Harlem community. On the other hand, she was depicted as a person of the society who was unwanted in the particular community as she is considered as the white lady in the community who marries a white person other than their black community. Undoubtedly, it was difficult aspect for Clare to live life with the two different standards. Her prospect for life was depicted through her skin color. The particular character of Irene was different and react differently to their particular life practices of Clare. It is notable to mention that although Irene expresses a great form of admiration for Clare, all the elements were not as smooth as they look. There was the existing aspect of sexual desire related to the facet of appreciation for Clare.

The narration provided by Clare in the story significantly refers to the particular racist views covey by her white husband. It is notable to mention that the particular feature of crossing the color line always comes up with different and complex aspects which need to be addressed to make necessary inferences about the concept of racism with the consideration of the color tone of the skin. The different hazardous prospect of the social and psychological paradigm is involved with the specific practice of passing. It is observed that most women are going through the aspect of passing as compared to men and this prospect is witnessed in the case of Clare and Irene.

Both the main female characters of the novel, Irene and Clare can be classified as two female characters who are light-skinned and can adopt the feature of “Pass” for white due to their skin color. Both have the option of passing, but Irene never adopted to become a part of the white society. She carries her married life with the person who was black and lived in the Harlem society as the one black individual. On the other hand, Clare had a different approach than Irene. She accepts the prospect of passing for the white and marries a white man who has no information regarding the background of the Clare. He has no idea that his wife belongs to the black community. He had an immensely racist opinion of the black people as he expresses his hate feeling for them so often. The following words indicate his opinion about the black individuals: “I don’t dislike them, I hate them… They gave me the creeps. The black devil… And I read in the papers about them. Always robbing and killing people. ‘And, ‘he added darkly, ‘worse” (Larsen, 172) Initial phase of life is different for the characters, Irene and Clare. It indicates that Clare lives the good rich life, and Irene comes up with the aspect of white life with the consideration of the displaced feature which was not desirable to a great extent. The overall scenario gets transformed at that particular moment when Irene and Clare meet again after many years. It was on the turning paradigm of their lives as it leads them to the difficult life of their past. This particular facet negatively impacts both the characters of the story as it ends with the mental instability of Irene and the collapse of Clare.

The particular narration depicted by the character of Clare provides the necessary approach related to racism in society. Different events and the prospect of feeling particularly concerned to the character of Clare indicate the different tragic aspects closely connected with the phenomenon of racism by the color tone of people. The overall prospect of the story is an effective indication of the different features of racism which can be a source of difficulty for white and black people. The fantasies and particular adoption of the Clare indicate that it can be immensely hard for someone to tackle the issues related to racism as it segregates society into two prospects. The particular approach of passing adopted by Clare also indicates that the aspect of racism can lead black people to consider factors other than their particular community.  Irene and Clare both do not have an effective approach regarding their actual identities which creates different sorts of problems in their lives. Both the characters of Irene and Clare were unhappy with their identity which also negatively appear in their lives. They adopted the wrong choices in their lives just because they remain unable to approach the broader prospect of life. They choose the option of lies in their lives which make them unhappy throughout their lives. The character of Clare more suffers as she wants the complete transition of her life from the black community to the white. She was unfaithful to herself as well as she was not willing to show her true identity to other people even her husband. She was immensely afraid of the sad reactions of the people based on their racist approach concerning the feature of the specific skin color of the people who have naturally. Double standard life makes it immensely difficult for Clare to lead herself toward positivity and originality in her life. The rejection of Clare for her true identity is becoming the reason for the extensive hate from the white people. They just wanted the feature of disappearing in the case of black people. They were unable and unwilling to accept the existence of black people in their lives. This tragic prospect happens due to the different lies told by black people. To conclude this, it is essential to mention that the insecurity due to the aspect of racism creates a different form of psychological difficulties which were observed in the case of the character Clare and Irene.

Work Cited

Larsen, N. Passing. Dover Publications, 2004,



Calculate Your Order

Standard price





Pop-up Message