The Affects That The Appearance Has On Behavior

2483 words - 10 pages

The Affects That the Appearance Has On Behavior
In, the three stories that we have explored this semester, Passing, A Raisin in the Sun, and Mama Day all have the same theme of how identity is based off of the appearance of someone, and how that appearance reflects how they will behave. So the behavior of someone is based off the outward appearance of someone. This is shown by the fluidity of Clare and her ability to assimilate into different culture easily, in Passing, the various examples of the various the conflicts between Cocoa and George in, Mama Day, and the how the characters in Mama Day, present themselves.
In Passing, by Nella Larsen she shows how Clare doesn’t see why race has to be a barrier for someone to be part of a culture, through her ability to pass as white or black at will. Clare is first introduced as a person who has passed a majority of her life as white, and has really liked where it has gotten her thus far in her life. She is married to a man who is a big racist against black people and who is under the impression that she is white. Even though Clare has passed most of her life as white she still keeps strong bonds and connections with the black community, and is still able to connect with them very well. Even though Larsen shows that other characters have mixed feelings about passing, on whether it is good or not, Clare never sees passing as a bad thing. During the argument between Clare and Irene, Irene says, “‘I wouldn’t,’…you didn’t tell him that you were coloured, so he’s got no way of knowing about this hankering of yours after Negroes…As far as I can see you’ll have to endure something’s and give up others… But Clare, it was plain… ‘I can’t, I can’t,’ she said…you cant realize how I want to see Negroes, to be with them again” (Larsen129). This shows how Clare doesn’t see how she can lose by passing. By passing as white it has benefitted her a lot throughout her life and has not failed her yet. But by just accepting her true race and being black she cannot fail there either. She feels that if her husband does catch her that she is passing as white then she always has the support of the black community to fall back on. She shows here how she doesn’t see race to be a big factor to how she can interact with people, because even though these two different groups see her as different races they don’t affect how she acts around them. With both groups she is herself and is just a social person who doesn’t see race as being a barrier. She feels that if her husband does find out that she is black, it’s not a big deal because even though she would have lost him, she would still have the black community and either way she will be fine.
In Mama Day, the characters actions reflect how they see themselves. Cocoa, one of the main characters in Mama Day, constantly battles with the fact that she is much lighter than the rest of her family, and it leads her to want to become as dark as the rest of her family, thinking that it...

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