Characterization

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Characterization is the process by which the writer reveals the personality of a character. In the short story ,“Passing” by Langston Hughes, the protagonist’s personality is described through an indirect self characterization. In fact, the author never directly tells the reader how to regard the protagonist but reveals his personality, step by step, through the long letter that he writes to his mother. In this letter Jack, the protagonist of the short story, recalls his past, describes the life he lives and his plan for the future explaining the reasons, which have led him, an extremely light-skinned coloured young man, to deny his identity and to reject his family in order to pass for a white man. At the very beginning of the letter…show more content…
His philosophy seems to be “rather you than me”. In fact, he closes his letter telling that, after marrying, he and his wife will move to an upper class district of the town. He is not even ashamed to tell his mother that he will take a box at the post office for their correspondence, probably so that his wife will not find out about. All in all Jack is characterised as a mean, egotistic and uncaring person only concerned of his own well-being, who does not hesitate to betray his actual and future family in order to maintain his place in the white society. Even the reason why he, thanks God, stops writing, underlines and validates this interpretation. He, the mischievous upper class white man, has no time to go on writing because he wants to take his white girlfriend to the movies. Meantime, his hardworking poor, honest, black family will be striving to make ends meet. He’ll keep in touch because he knows: they are too proud and will never try to press money from him revealing their existence as he would do if he were in their shoes. 900

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