Home > Uncategorized > Ideas of Nationalism and Ethnic Identification in Passing

Ideas of Nationalism and Ethnic Identification in Passing

Recently I have been getting very deep into the writing of my Capstone. It is over the ideals of Nationalism in the Catalonia region of Spain during the Spanish Civil War between 1936-1939. Basically I’m viewing the people that inhabit this region as extreme nationalists (regionalists) who speak their own language and hold their own ideals completely separate from the greater population of Spain. Their pride was a representation of the counter-movement against the dictator, Francisco Franco. I bring this up because it offers me new insight on the role of race in Nella Larsen’s Passing. While I did already write a paper over the subject, I did not examine the role of racial identity to any great extent. Now that I have done all of this research, it becomes obvious to me that the role of racial identification is utterly different between people, and that this confusion or indecision can lead to utterly different personalities. Irene is a perfect example of this, as she identifies herself as a black woman, but on occasion allows herself to pass for a white woman when the need suits her. I think that this says quite a bit about her personality, because of her role as a “mulatta” woman. She is unable to exist wholly in one culture or another and thus adopts aspects of both. This idea of adopting aspects of different cultures is something that would be completely alien to the extreme nationalists of Catalonia. While I do not think that Irene’s adaptation of both white and black culture is neither negative or positive, it makes her a person that lives not wholly in one world or another. 

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