Nella Larsen’s novel “Passing”, which was published in 1929, can be classified as later work of the Harlem Renaissance. The Harlem Renaissance is defined as remarkable phase of black american writing centred in Harlem from 1920 until about 1935. Beginning as a series of literary discussions this African-American cultural movement, in which emerged a great output of creative activity among African-Americans in literature, became known as “The New Negro Movement” and later as the Harlem Renaissance. This literary movement involved a social revolt against racism and centered the culture of African-Americans. The movement was triggered by the growing migration of blacks from the South to northern cities like New York, Chicago and Washington D.C. between 1919 and 1926 and by the appearance of radical black intellectuals (e.g. Locke, M.Garvey, J.W. Johnston, W.E.B. du Bois) who encouraged their folks not only to accept but to celebrate their African heritage. More African-American writers were published during this period than ever before. The Harlem Renaissance included authors like Langston Hughes, Jean Toomer, Countee Cullen and Claude McKay and of course, Nella Larsen. It lead to a new self-awareness and critical respect to black literature in the United States.
Nella Larsen’s novel “Passing” is concerned with the subject of passing which means not only passing for white but also sexual passing (passing for homosexual) that was a tabu in the society of the 1920’s. This essay attempts to solve the question in how far the death of one of the main characters of the novel, Clare Kendry, is foreshadowed in the text. .
Passing is basically concerned with racial identity and the crossing of the colorline. But the word “Passing” also alludes to the colloquial meaning which is death. This is the first hint that one of the main characters has to die in the end. But of course there are many more facts that foreshadow the death of Clare Kendry.