Citation

The Life In-Between: The Economic Quandary of the Mulatto in a New Negro World

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Abstract:

In Quicksand and Cane, Nella Larsen and Jean Toomer complicate the vision of Northern cities Harlem, Chicago and Washington, D.C., as meccas for New Negroes to reinvent their lives and achieve economic success by showing the dislocation and spiritual dis-ease plaguing biracial residents Helga Crane, Paul and Rhobert. Far removed from the downtrodden way of life Helga has observed in the South, Larsen crafts the awkward point-of-view that mulattos must adopt as they experience the industrial, cultural and socioeconomic inequalities of the white community surrounding them amid the semblance of cultural, industrial and socioeconomic autonomy Harlem offers black residents. She shows Helga’s inability to connect fully with the life force pulsing around her, in Harlem or in white New York, as she feigns a hatred of her white ancestry, which she must hide to thrive as a New Negro in Harlem. This inward tug-of-war foreshadows the internal battle that will lead to her mental breakdown. Similarly, Paul’s discomfort with his black ancestry thwarts his attempt to pass and enjoy romance with Bona, a white woman who knows his secret. In this paper, close readings of these mulattoes’ journeys will illuminate the economic and social stalemate they face because of their inability to accept their biraciality in these environments that demand a complex choice.
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Association:
Name: 95th Annual Convention
URL:
http://www.asalh.org


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p435222_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Wilson, L. "The Life In-Between: The Economic Quandary of the Mulatto in a New Negro World" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 95th Annual Convention, Raleigh Convention Center, Raleigh, North Carolina, <Not Available>. 2014-11-27 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p435222_index.html>

APA Citation:

Wilson, L. L. "The Life In-Between: The Economic Quandary of the Mulatto in a New Negro World" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 95th Annual Convention, Raleigh Convention Center, Raleigh, North Carolina <Not Available>. 2014-11-27 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p435222_index.html

Publication Type: Invited Paper
Abstract: In Quicksand and Cane, Nella Larsen and Jean Toomer complicate the vision of Northern cities Harlem, Chicago and Washington, D.C., as meccas for New Negroes to reinvent their lives and achieve economic success by showing the dislocation and spiritual dis-ease plaguing biracial residents Helga Crane, Paul and Rhobert. Far removed from the downtrodden way of life Helga has observed in the South, Larsen crafts the awkward point-of-view that mulattos must adopt as they experience the industrial, cultural and socioeconomic inequalities of the white community surrounding them amid the semblance of cultural, industrial and socioeconomic autonomy Harlem offers black residents. She shows Helga’s inability to connect fully with the life force pulsing around her, in Harlem or in white New York, as she feigns a hatred of her white ancestry, which she must hide to thrive as a New Negro in Harlem. This inward tug-of-war foreshadows the internal battle that will lead to her mental breakdown. Similarly, Paul’s discomfort with his black ancestry thwarts his attempt to pass and enjoy romance with Bona, a white woman who knows his secret. In this paper, close readings of these mulattoes’ journeys will illuminate the economic and social stalemate they face because of their inability to accept their biraciality in these environments that demand a complex choice.


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