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Old 03-01-2018, 12:18 PM   #152
Catlady
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Quote:
Originally Posted by orlok View Post
I do think we're getting a bit mired down in the "did she/didn't she" ending. What I have taken away from this book is the difficult life that "white" people of colour had back then (and possibly still do) in integrating with either the white community (living a lie) or their own community (not always being accepted as one of their own). I think this informs Irene's and particularly Clare's neuroses and outlook on life, and explains many of their actions.
I did not get any sense of what passing was like in the 1920s from the book, not even specifically for Clare as a unique character. Any of the danger and difficulty seemed to be a result of her own deliberately risky behavior, not societal strictures. I did not feel her isolation from community and desire to return to her roots (in any case her roots were not in the upper-class world she turns to). I felt only that she was bored and looking for a change and an adventure, not that she was genuinely regretting or reexamining her choices and yearning for connection.

Were there any instances of Clare being ostracized or viewed with suspicion by anyone but Irene when she joins in the black community? I am not remembering anyone feeling ill will toward her because she was passing. Most of the characters seemed to exist on a social plane where they could cling to a pretense, for the most part, that race didn't much matter.
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