Larsen Quicksand Essay

Larsen Quicksand Essay-29
The journey Helga Crane undertakes mirrors that of Larsen’s own.The author’s first-hand experience allows Helga to act as the fictional vehicle for the emotional reality of Larsen. read Helga’s tragic end as a powerful criticism of the social forces that conspire against her achieving a fulfilling life…”[i] The alternative ending to Larsen’s continued life, acts as a microcosm to accentuate the oppression of women both globally and intra-racially.

The journey Helga Crane undertakes mirrors that of Larsen’s own.The author’s first-hand experience allows Helga to act as the fictional vehicle for the emotional reality of Larsen. read Helga’s tragic end as a powerful criticism of the social forces that conspire against her achieving a fulfilling life…”[i] The alternative ending to Larsen’s continued life, acts as a microcosm to accentuate the oppression of women both globally and intra-racially.This polarised identity from the one she was used to having projected on her in America, is one that Jeffrey Gray recognises through the “…

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We see Helga internally and externally battle stereotypes of primitivism and exoticism projected by white America and Europe upon those of African descent.

In addition to social problems, Helga also struggles with her personal absence of cultural and historical definition.

Materialism and vanity that erupted during this decade.

Larsen reflects this through the text in the relentless use of imagery, idealising Helga’s ‘mulatto’ identity just as native[vi] European’s of the time would have. Nilssen’s point of view, [and] her mother’s, her stepfather’s and his children’s points of view…”[viii] engage the readers in understanding the rift deep within America between the black and white populations.

This line also points to the stereotypes placed on African-American males in Harlem at the time. struggle against the nameless and to him shameful impulse…” connotes a primeval behavioural trait so often associated with primitive urges, and one that would not uplift African-Americans in society unless their ancient heritage was disregarded[vii]. Larsen depicts these polar attitudes manifesting its disruption in the isolation and acute self-awareness of those whose heritage crosses both.[ix] The reader is presented with a thorough chronicle of an independent female African-American’s experience at the time.

The added social and economic constructs of both Harlem and Danish lifestyles inform the readers of the profoundly prejudice society Helga and Larsen occupied.Not only do we witness rejection and social status as inter-racial features, but also as intra-racial one.Larsen’s focus on isolation and transnationalism automatically alludes to the political activists of the time.[iii] The tenth of the black population with a ‘superior’ intellect and education was used to model his uplift of African-Americans to the same ‘status’ as white-Americans, in order for segregation to dissolve. [vi] Both Larsen and her protagonist’s mothers were from Denmark, yet their experience in American lead them to reject their daughters.Her mother’s sister embraces and respects Helga as a foreign and exotic relative when she lives with her in Copenhagen. [ix] Larsen was brought up in a family who didn’t share her heritage since the age of 6.Larsen affectively uses race to discuss social inequality, but also features class in order to accentuate the struggles Africa-Americans faced in local, national, and global scales. [ii] Du Bois believed in total integration between blacks and whites, both socially and politically.References [i] Kimberly Monda, (African American Review, Vol. In doing this, he was accused of trying to imitate white culture, and abandon the heritage of Africa-Americans. Levine, (The Norton Anthology of American Literature, Vol D: 1914-1945, 2012), p. [v] ‘The Roaring Twenties’ after the First World War in the lead up to the Wall Street Crash was made visible with the aesthetic materialism that engulfed the Westernized consumerism of America.In conclusion, the text acts as a microcosm to condense both the inter and intra-racial frictions of stereotype and prejudice, during the Harlem Renaissance.In addition to social issues African-Americans faced, it also addresses the economical traits of the era through aesthetic images connoting the inescapable materialism and consumerism that was rife in the 1920s.Such resistance to integration races caused them to be faced with hostility and oppression on a daily basis, and this is structured as one of Larsen’s main themes in the text.This theme, twinned with identity and abandon, regularly appears throughout Larsen’s work, and Helga’s transatlantic journey.

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