2007 Student Research Conference:
20th Annual Student Research Conference

Language & Literature

A Psychoanalytic Examination of Racial Identity in Nella Larsen's Passing
Brett B. Niemann
Dr. Hena Ahmad, Faculty Mentor

Nella Larsen’s Passing (1929), set during the Harlem Renaissance, focuses on two light-skinned African-American women, Carla and Irene, one of whom “passes” off as a white woman in order to take advantage of socioeconomic opportunities only available to whites. This paper will trace the development of a double consciousness that divides them between their black and “white” identities. Furthermore, drawing on black feminist criticism, this paper will explore the compelling forces underlying Carla’s decision to adopt a white identity, as well as the effect this conflicting choice has on her self-image.

Keywords: race, identity, Harlem Renaissance, Larsen, psychoanalytic , feminism, African-American

Topic(s):English

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 9-5
Location: VH 1428
Time: 9:15 am

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