Racial Identity In Quicksand

Decent Essays

In the novel Quicksand by Nella Larsen the main character Helga struggles to find her racial identity. She is unhappy with who she is no matter where she goes and the story shows the different treatment and conflict that she experiences in daily life. It follows this women as she tries to find herself in life moving from place to place. Helga questions her value in everything she does, work, relationships with men and those in her family. As a bi-racial women one struggles to find happiness and a sense of belonging regardless of where they live.
The experiences that Helga goes through cause her to go through a rollercoaster of emotions from place to place. She feels split between her two racial identities depending on the people she is around. Her light skin cause her to be respected by those around her, but with her dark skin causes her to be seen in a more sexual way and able to be used. In Naxos with James Vayle he becomes more uncomfortable with Helga as he begins to finally fit the Naxos mold more and more. Even though Helga was no longer the perfect marriage partner anymore James doesn’t break off the engagement because he still found use in her appearance. Another insult to her while in Naxos Dr. Anderson assumed that she had a good family background because of where she came from, this makes her a valuable to Naxos. Then after Dr. Anderson finds out Helga was an unfit partner for marriage, she then gets treated more like a sexual object by Dr. Anderson. When Axel

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