Master of Arts (MA)
First Advisor's Name
Katharine Capshaw Smith
First Advisor's Committee Title
Second Advisor's Name
Third Advisor's Name
Date of Defense
The purpose of this study was to analyze the ways in which Harlem Renaissance-era novelists Nella Larsen and Zora Neale Hurston defy the "tragic mulatta" as a literary convention in their novels Quicksand, Passing, and Their Eyes Were Watching God. They seek to transform a tradition that not only perpetuates and reinforces essentialist notions of "blackness" and "whiteness," but also disregards the authenticity of a biracial identity. Through their revisions of this prototype, Larsen and Hurston advocate the construction of a biracial female identity for their mulatta characters that empowers them to resist the racial/gender stereotypes historically imposed upon them. By positing the need for multiplicity as opposed to a divided self, these authors resist essentialism and challenge the definition of "true womanhood.”
Crowther, Kyla Racquel, "Challenging the "tragic mulatta" : the construction of biracial female identity in Quicksand, Passing, and Their eyes were watching God" (2003). FIU Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 2673.
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