How do they relate to each other?


  1. 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.
  2. The metaphor of Passing accrues several layers of meaning. What are they? How do they relate to each other?
  3. Whose story is this? Clare’s or Irene’s?
  4. 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.”
  5. 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?
  6. 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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