- Read Hayden’s volume alongside Gwendolyn Brooks’s Annie Allen (1949). Discuss how each author envisions childhood and memory, and how these visions are gendered.
- The metaphor of Passing accrues several layers of meaning. What are they? How do they relate to each other?
- Whose story is this? Clare’s or Irene’s?
- What does this passage mean: “[Irene] was caught between two allegiances, different, yet the same. Herself. Her race. Race: The thing that bound and suffocated her. Whatever steps she took, or if she took none at all, something would be crushed. A person or the race. Clare, herself, or the race. Or, it might be all three.”
- It has been suggested that Passing uses race more as a device to sustain suspense than as a compelling social issue. What is the relation of race to subjective experience in the text?
- What is the significance of narrative endings in Larsen? Why does Passing refuse to specify how Clare is killed and who is responsible?
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