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After her father’s death during her adolescence, Clare moved away from her mostly-black neighborhood in Chicago to live with her white aunts.
Brian cheats on his wife, Bellew is fine with his being killed. As to why the others did not reveal that Irene had killed Clare, it was exactly the same reason that Irene found herself unable to reveal Clare’s secret to her husband.
Passing is a novel by American author Nella Larsen, first published in 1929. Set primarily in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City in the 1920s, the story centers on the reunion of two childhood friends—Clare Kendry and Irene Redfield—and their increasing fascination with each other’s lives.
Irene’s desire for Clare bubbles up at one point in the novel, when Clare walks into her room and kisses her head. Irene feels an “inexplicable onrush of affectionate feeling” in response, grasps Clare’s hands, and cries out that Clare is lovely.
After Irene suspects that her husband Brian and Clare are having an affair, and after Clare’s husband discovers that his wife is Black, a violent confrontation ensues, and the film ends with Clare falling out of a window, her body broken and lifeless on a bed of pure white, Harlem snow.
Irene is working very hard to maintain herself as a respectable person and to feel as if she is in charge of her life, so she sees Clare as spoiled and childish; as she spends more time with Clare, her irritation increases. For Clare’s part, it seems that she is lonely and longs for the company of other black women.
Clare gets a horrible, unexpected ending as she is pushed out of a window by one of the characters. Irene was jealous of Clare and this made the readers feel that Clare did not care about Irene’s feelings because she was suspected of getting close to Irene’s husband.
Brian is a doctor in New York City and Irene’s husband.
Is Passing based on a true story? No, Passing is entirely a work of fiction. Clare and Irene weren’t real people. Passing isn’t, however, an original screenplay.
Irene passes for convenience, not because she identifies as white. She wants access to public places that she wouldn’t have access to as a black woman. … On the other hand, Clare is presented in a way that says she sees everything as a game and simply isn’t aware of how she condemns blacks.
Brian’s desire to relocate to Brazil reveals his desire to escape the American color line and Irene’s desire to remain in the U.S. is a testament to how she values “security” as the “most important and desired thing in life” (Larsen 76).
Nella Larsen, nurse, librarian, and, writer, was born Nella Marie Larsen in Chicago in 1891 to a Danish mother and a black West Indian father. Knowing little about her father after his death when she was two years old, she was reared in the home with her mother, remarried to a Danish man, and her half-sister.
In both the novel and the film adaptation, it’s never explicitly stated if Irene is responsible for Clare’s death, though in literary discussions it is often concluded that Irene did, in fact, push Clare out the window.
In Irene’s flashback to “that time in Chicago,” she remembers the day being very hot. Irene is shopping for souvenirs for her two boys, Brian Junior (referred to throughout the book as Junior) and Theodore (Ted).
Gertrude can pass as white, and is married to a white man (a butcher like her father) who knows that she is black.
At one point, Ted asks his father why people hate black people, sparking a fight between Irene and Brian. The housekeeper at Irene’s father’s house in Chicago. Liza answers the phones and helps around the house. Zulena and Sadie are Irene’s servants/housekeepers at her home in New York City.
In Passing, the film adaptation of Nella Larsen’s seminal 1929 novel of the same name, two women reckon with who they are and how they identify. Although both are Black, they are light-skinned enough that they can “pass” for white.
PassingDirected byRebecca HallScreenplay byRebecca HallBased onPassing by Nella LarsenProduced byNina Yang Bongiovi Forest Whitaker Margot Hand Rebecca Hall
Almost one hundred years after the novel’s publication, this film stokes the “wild desire” its author originally depicted. The film Passing, which adapts Nella Larsen’s 1929 novel and is now available streaming on Netflix, opens with a profusion of confusing sights and sounds.
Clare passed for white because she hated being poor, not being black. Clare passed for white because she hated being poor, not being black. All passing narratives are about class as much as they are about race.
Irene hands Brian the letter. She feels bad because she is running late and holding Brian up, and blames the letter for distracting her. Irene blames the letter for making her late, which hints (as many other moments do) at the unreliability of Irene’s perspective.
After her marriage, she sometimes used the name Nella Larsen Imes in her writing. A year after her marriage, she published her first short stories. The couple moved to Harlem in the 1920s, where their marriage and life together had contradictions of class.