Plot Summary Chapters One-Three "Nella" Larsen introduces the main character Helga Crane, a young girl of twenty two, with delicate but well turned arms and legs. Helga teaches at an elite southern school named Naxos referenced to a Greek Island in the Aegean Sea. The school was an example of the theory that African Americans needed to improve their lot, the policy of "Black Uplift".
Plot summary[ edit ] Crane is the aloof and refined mixed-race daughter of a Danish white mother and a West Indian black father who died soon after she was born. Rejected by her European-American relatives and not raised with her West Indian father, Crane feels adrift and "without people.
In her travels she encounters many of the communities which Larsen knew. For example, Crane teaches at Naxos, a black boarding school based on Tuskegee Universitywhere she becomes dissatisfied with its philosophy of sober racial uplift and accommodationism. She criticizes a sermon by a white preacher, who advocates for Booker T.
Washington-style racial segregation and warns black students that striving for social equality will lead them to become avaricious. Crane quits teaching and moves to Chicago.
Her white maternal uncle, now married to a bigoted woman, shuns her. Crane moves to HarlemNew York, where she becomes the secretary to a refined but often hypocritical black middle class woman obsessed with the "race problem. Missing black people, she returns to New York City.
Close to a mental breakdown, Crane happens onto a store-front revival and has a charismatic religious experience. After marrying the preacher who converted her, she moves with him to the rural Deep South. There she is disillusioned by the people's adherence to religion.
In each of her moves, Crane fails to find fulfillment. She is looking for more than how to integrate her mixed ancestry. She expresses complex feelings about what she and her friends consider genetic differences between races.
The novel develops Crane's search for a marriage partner. As it opens, she has become engaged to marry a prominent Southern black man, whom she does not really love, but through whom she can become a part of the black elite.
In Denmark she turns down the proposal of a famous white Danish artist for whom she is the embodiment of an exoticized African ideal.
By the final chapters, Crane has married a black Southern preacher whom she finds physically revolting.
The novel's close is deeply pessimistic. Disillusioned with religion, her husband, and her life, Crane fantasizes about leaving her husband, but never does. Themes and preoccupations[ edit ] Quicksand functions as a semi-autobiographical novel as there are direct ties between Nella Larsen's life and the life of the fictional Helga Crane.
Like Larsen, Helga is of mixed racial background, her mother having been Danish and her father African American. Additionally, like Helga Crane, Larsen moved frequently trying on a variety of careers.
She trained as a nurse and a librarian and worked in both of these fields before writing Quicksand. The reader is left wondering whether Helga Crane's issues are a result of society not allowing her to be complete or if her problems due to her own character. Another possibility is that what is being critiqued is a view of race, a view that calls for racial differences and categorizations that Helga could not possibly fit into because she is both white and black.
The "tragic mulatta"[ edit ] As in Larsen's sole other published novella Passing, the plight of the bi-racial woman in s U. Helga Crane's experiences of isolation and emotional exclusion in both black and white cultural spaces, her struggle to identify with both her Danish and African-American families and communities, and her encounters with sexual oppression and exoticization resonate strongly with the trope of the tragic mulatta in American literature.This volume brings together the complete fiction of the author of Passing and Quicksand, one of the most gifted writers of the Harlem lausannecongress2018.comhout her short but brilliant literary career, Nella Larsen wrote piercing dramas about the black middle class that featured sensitive, spirited heroines struggling to find a place where they belonged.
Plusieurs facteurs permettent d’expliquer cette Renaissance, avec en premier lieu l'existence d'une bourgeoisie noire qui se concentre sur Sugar Hill  dans les années Harlem devient le lieu de rendez-vous des élites afro-américaines de New York, qui accède à cette époque au rang de ville mondiale de la culture.
Nellallitea 'Nella' Larsen (first called Nellie Walker) was an American novelist of the Harlem Renaissance who wrote two novels and a few short stories. Though her literary output was scant, what she wrote earned her recognition by her contemporaries and by present-day critics/5. 65 Books You Need To Read In Your 20s.
The books that will move you, inspire you, make you cry, make you think, make you laugh. Even if you read them in high school or college, you'll have a. Nella Larsen, an acclaimed novelist of the Harlem Renaissance, became the first African American woman to win a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship.
This page guide for “Quicksand” by Nella Larsen includes detailed chapter summaries and analysis covering 25 chapters, as well as several more in-depth sections of expert-written literary analysis.