Passing As An Integral Part Of African American Literature

2601 Words May 4th, 2015 11 Pages
Kevan Josephs
04/29/15
Dr. Rose-Brown
ENGL-244

Caucasia “Passing as white is, of course, how modernists would have understood the term. But even in this, its first cultural sense, passing is far more complicated than the notion of
Wearing a mask or of assuming a fraudulent identity would suggest…Passing—actual and
Imaginary, conscious and unconscious—at once produced profound shifts in thinking
About the boundaries of identity and aroused ambivalence about those shifting, unstable
Borders” (Caughie 387). This Quote is from Pamela Caughie‟s article “Passing as Modernism” which defines the reason behind passing, According to Caughie passing isn 't simply pretending to be white, but is way for an individual to shift the confines of identity. Novels of passing have become an integral part of African American literature, main characters of such novel’s attempt to pass as white in order to circumvent the trials and tribulations black people go through while living in a white dominated society. These stories are to serve as commentary on the color-line which divides America, they also advocate racial solidarity as the characters who pass consistently embrace their black identities towards the end. However if the character chooses not to embrace their blackness, then they are ill-fated to become a “tragic mullatto/a”.

Senna’s novel explores the phenomenon that is passing and reinvents the theme for a post-civil rights America. Caucasia remains reminiscent of…
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