Summary Of Nella Larsen's Passing

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In Nella Larsen’s Passing, Irene Redfield assumes the position of a wife who suspects her husband, Brian Redfield, of having an affair with her childhood friend, Clare Kendry. Irene fears her husband will leave her “if Clare were free”. (Larsen, 1997, p. 101) Which leads Irene to imagine how John Bellew, the incredibly racist husband of Clare Kendry, would react to discovering his wife Clare’s true racial identity. “What if Bellew should divorce Clare? Could he? There was the Rhinelander case”. (Larsen, 1997, p. 101) In 1925, there was a highly publicized legal trial, known as the Rhinelander Trial, in which Leonard Rhinelander requested an annulment of his marriage to Alice Beatrice Jones on the grounds of “racial fraud”. (Nisetich, p.

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