Essays On Quicksand By Nella Larsen


Description:Callaloo, the premier African and African-American literary journal, publishes original works by and critical studies of black writers worldwide. The journal offers a rich mixture of fiction, poetry, plays, critical essays, cultural studies, interviews, and visual art. Frequent annotated bibliographies, special thematic issues, and original art and photography are some of the features of this highly acclaimed international showcase of arts and letters. Special issues on Haiti and on Puerto Rican Women Writers have received awards from the Council of Editors of Learned Journals and the Association of American Publishers Professional Scholarly Publishing Division.

Coverage: 1976-2012 (No. 1 - Vol. 35, No. 4)

Moving Wall: 5 years (What is the moving wall?)

The "moving wall" represents the time period between the last issue available in JSTOR and the most recently published issue of a journal. Moving walls are generally represented in years. In rare instances, a publisher has elected to have a "zero" moving wall, so their current issues are available in JSTOR shortly after publication.
Note: In calculating the moving wall, the current year is not counted.
For example, if the current year is 2008 and a journal has a 5 year moving wall, articles from the year 2002 are available.

Terms Related to the Moving Wall
Fixed walls: Journals with no new volumes being added to the archive.
Absorbed: Journals that are combined with another title.
Complete: Journals that are no longer published or that have been combined with another title.

ISSN: 01612492

EISSN: 10806512

Subjects: Language & Literature, African American Studies, Area Studies, Humanities

Collections: Arts & Sciences I Collection, JSTOR Essential Collection, Language & Literature Collection

Quicksand By Nella Larsen Essay

The first encounter with Helga Crane, Nella Larsen’s protagonist in the novel Quicksand, introduces the heroine unwinding after a day of work in a dimly lit room. She is alone. And while no one else is present in the room, Helga is accompanied by her own thoughts, feelings, and her worrisome perceptions of the world around her. Throughout the novel, it becomes clear that most of Helga’s concerns revolve around two issues- race and sex. Even though there are many human character antagonists that play a significant role in the novel and in the story of Helga Crane, such as her friends, coworkers, relatives, and ultimately even her own children, her race and her sexuality become Helga’s biggest challenges. These two taxing antagonists appear throughout the novel in many subtle forms. It becomes obvious that racial confusion and sexual repression are a substantial source of Helga’s apprehensions and eventually lead to her tragic demise.
Helga’s first indication of racial conflict revolves around her occupation as a teacher at Naxos. Not so much with her fellow teachers or the other staff, but with the core concepts and principles of the school itself. Helga admits that she has had trouble fitting into the “Naxos mold” (Larsen 10). She describes this failure to conform as “a lack somewhere,” stemming from “parts of her she couldn’t be proud of” (Larsen 10). These subtle hints show Helga’s conflict with racial discomfort. She strongly disagrees with the southern school’s values and ways of thinking. Helga feels that the school had become “a showplace in the black belt, [an] exemplification of the white man’s magnanimity, [and a] refutation of the black man’s inefficiency” (Larsen 8). In her opinion, this institution of learning was now more like “a big knife with cruelly sharp edges ruthlessly cutting all to a pattern, the white man’s pattern,” than that of a school (Larsen 8). Larsen uses this lacerating metaphor to jaggedly attack the attitudes and beliefs of Booker T. Washington, who sought to form schools to train blacks for specific occupations in low-skilled fields and “believed racial agitation was a course for disaster” (Hill 6). Helga credits her unease at Naxos to “a quality within herself” that she cannot understand (Larsen 12). Helga soon confesses her bi-racial frustration to the principal, Dr. Anderson, but only after becoming disturbed by her sexual attraction towards him.
Helga’s first confrontation with Dr. Anderson almost leaves her speechless! Larsen describes Helga’s reaction as an “inward confusion” that felt to her “like hysteria” (Larsen 18). Larsen again only hints at this attraction, in an indirect manner. A careful analysis of the text, however, will make her point obvious. Larsen illustrates Helga’s sexual temptation regarding Dr. Anderson with clever insinuations. As their conversation develops, Helga is overcome by a “mystifying yearning” that “throbbed in her” (Larsen 20). Larsen uses words, such as...

Loading: Checking Spelling


Read more

Nella Larsen's novel "Quicksand" defies any stereotypes about black women during the Harlem Renaissance.

1167 words - 5 pages At first glance it seems that Nella Larsen wrote "Quicksand" just to irritate and annoy her readers with a wishy-washy black heroine who has no direction in her life, yet is constantly unsatisfied with her available roles. I was personally offended when this fictional woman, Helga Crane, was given opportunity after opportunity, first a decent job at a well-respected school, then an employer who helps her get on her feet in New York, then...

The Worst of Both Worlds, and the Best of Neither

2044 words - 8 pages The Worst of Both Worlds, and the Best of Neither Helga Crane's racial mixedness as a mulatto in Nella Larsen's novel Quicksand divides her socially, emotionally, and geographically, and suspends her in a perpetual "in between" status. Her uncanny role results from a combination of qualities that simultaneously identify her with, and distance her from, each side of her ancestry. Helga's identity becomes taboo because it leads her...

Passing One's True Self Patricia Jones Nella Larsen

964 words - 4 pages When one first considers the many thematic elements in a novel, it is likely that location would be taken fairly lightly. Where a character lives is not exactly eye- catching, but rather, the place of residence may often seem just a piece of the book's setting, and nothing more. However, a closer examination or a deeper excavation of a novel can reveal something to the contrary. Such is the case with these two particular novels entitled,...

Nella Larsen's Passing

3758 words - 15 pages Nella Larsen's Passing The Harlem Renaissance was a turning point for many African Americans. A vast amount of literature was created specifically for this group during this era. It was a period when the African American "was in vogue" and "white thinkers and writers were devoting a considerable amount of attention" to them (Taylor 91, 90). For the first time, African Americans were being told that it was okay to be proud of who they...

Finding the Modern Artist: Valéry and Stevens on Strickland and Olsen

2151 words - 9 pages The artist was a figure of great importance to the Modernist writer. One need only look through the literature of the time to see this. Hardly a book was written that didn't include as at least a minor character an artist of some sort. In this time of waning faith in God, the figure of the man who creates, who makes order from chaos, was very tantalizing. The modern artist was seen as a trailblazer, standing at the vanguard of humanity...

The Complexities of Human Relationships Explored in Nella Larsen's Passing

2494 words - 10 pages A huge amount of literature was created exclusively for African Americans during Larsen’s time. For the first time, African Americans were being told that it was okay to be proud of who they were. This knowledge and self-awareness was important in many works of literature, but a number of writers began exploring the darker side of this group with literature that concentrated on the pessimistic aspects of race relations in America. Nella Larsen's...

Discuss Identity in Nella Larsen's "Quicksand" and "Passing", and Hurston's "Their Eyes were watching god"

2218 words - 9 pages A good friend once said that "life is full of twists." Life has ways of building and breaking a person. Each individual in this world learns and approaches life differently. One person may learn from the mistakes of others, while another person may learn from personal experiences. When life becomes difficult and feels unbearable, these challenges serve a purpose. Tribulations can be used to bring life to a person's character or construct their...

Brief Summary of the Harlem Renaissance.

1868 words - 7 pages Harlem RenaissanceVariously known as the New Negro movement, the New Negro Renaissance, and the Negro Renaissance, the movement emerged toward the end of World War I in 1918, blossomed in the mid- to late 1920s, and then faded in the mid-1930s. The Harlem Renaissance marked the first time that mainstream publishers and critics took African American...

Harlem Resaissance Response to the Oral Tradition

1153 words - 5 pages Jean Toomer is a master at appearance and behavior, with this in mind, ergo, I acquiesce with Karla Holloway. She argues convincingly that Toomer's "Fern" leaves out the memory consciousness storytelling, the perpetual breaks and the constant wavering of thoughts that is apparent in Nella Larson's "Quicksand." "Like the face, the whole countryside seemed to flow into her eyes. Fern's eyes said to them that she was easy." "Cane" is...

The Effect of Cultural and Historical Situations on American Literature

1125 words - 5 pages Professor Brattoli ”American literature is almost always tied to historical and social events of the era in which it was written.” There is a connection between literary works from different time periods. This connection is how history, current events and social events have impacted American Literature. Literary works and writing styles have been affected and influence by the world...

"Women of the Harlem Renaissance" by Cheryl A. Wall

1286 words - 5 pages Cheryl A. Wall wrote the book, "Women of the Harlem Renaissance", which was published by The Indiana University Press in 1995. Wall's book follows the lives and careers of three of the most famous and influential women writers of the Harlem Renaissance. The book allows the reader to experience what life was like for the African American woman in the...

Categories: 1

0 Replies to “Essays On Quicksand By Nella Larsen”

Leave a comment

L'indirizzo email non verrà pubblicato. I campi obbligatori sono contrassegnati *