Analysis Of Nella Larson 's Passing, And Amiri Baraka 's The Dutchman
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Much of American Literature written in the 1900’s detail the experiences of race within America, being that slavery had only recently been abolished. Society in no way viewed African American’s as equal to white American’s. At this time, blacks were forced to fight to be viewed as a full person, worthy of basic human rights. Nella Larson’s Passing, and Amiri Baraka’s The Dutchman, both call attention to the racial tensions in a post Civil War America, by exposing the manipulation of the endemic racism within our culture, and the effect that it has on the way the African American community interacts within itself through the use of an extended metaphor.
Both Clare and Lula represent the idea that the White American community uses its…show more content… This shows the deep and innate feelings of inferiority that white America has planted into the brains and culture of many African Americans. While detailing her experience with passing to Irene, Clare explains that, “It’s such a frightfully easy thing to do. If one’s the type, all that’s needed is a little nerve” (25). She explicitly stated, “It’s even worth the price” (28). However, as the novel progresses Clare changes her attitude and begins to share the horrors of passing with Irene. Clare knows the consequences that she would experience from the white community, she would lose her daughter Margery, her marriage, and all the physical comforts in life that she had gained from passing. Yet it’s not only these fears that keeps her living the lie that is passing, it is also the deeply rooted feelings of inferiority that were instilled in all colored people.
Both Clay and Irene are representative of the effect that racial tensions and endemic racism has on the way the African American community interacts within itself. Clay represents the standard African-American male at the inevitable cultural crossroad experienced by almost all Black Americans. Clay grapples with embedded racism and self-insecurity over his racial and cultural identity. Clay reveals to have comprehension and understanding of French literature, a college level education, is dressed in a suit and tie, and yet is easily