Chang-Rae Lee And Nella Larsen Summary

2286 Words10 Pages
Chang-Rae Lee and Nella Larsen both create simultaneous representations of race and class within defined communities in their works A Gesture Life and Passing. Doc Hata and Irene both struggle to cope with the knowledge that their race limits the economic and social opportunities available to them. This racial consciousness can also include the pressure to associate and bond with one’s race that is imposed by the society of that race or society in general. Doc Hata and Irene desire to transcend this racial constraint and be integrated into the American middle class. They seek to accomplish this by forming and maintaining relationships that they feel gesture towards a middle class ideal. Doc Hata and Irene engage in these relationships because…show more content…
He takes great measures to make sure that he doesn’t offend any one, including his adoptive daughter, in order to uphold his image of the “good Doc Hata” (Lee 73). It is important for Doc Hata to feel known, and he boasts that “people know me here” despite the fact their pleasantries hardly ever go beyond the “how are yous and good days” (73). This sense of constant familiarity is one that he “deeply appreciate[s]” because it makes him feel secure (73). He holds a strong aversion to any confrontation that would disturb this image and thus his security. Mary Burns points out his need to “assent” to everything in a very one-sided argument they have over his relationship with his daughter Sunny (861). He “doesn’t wish to go further” in the conversation, claiming that he doesn’t have the “stomach for these engagements, for taking certain issues to the necessary lengths” (877). Because of his aversion to confrontation, Doc Hata has refrained from treating Sunny in a traditional paternal way, feeling “obliged to her wishes” instead of her well being (867). Sunny’s wishes, like Clare’s presence, represent the radical elements of perversion that Doc Hata wishes to avoid, and thus allows Sunny to remove herself from his

    More about Chang-Rae Lee And Nella Larsen Summary

      Open Document