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"'I wouldn't have believed it -- even of a white man'" : critiquing whiteness in Charles Chesnutt's "The house behind the cedars" and Nella Larsen's "Passing"

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dc.contributor.advisor Birnbaum, Michele
dc.creator Franks, Tricia May
dc.date.accessioned 2012-11-02T18:51:04Z
dc.date.available 2012-11-02T18:51:04Z
dc.date.copyright 1996-05-03
dc.date.issued 1996-05-03
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/1957/34785
dc.description Graduation date: 1996 en_US
dc.description.abstract In their respective novels, The House Behind the Cedars (1900) and Passing (1929), both Charles Chesnutt and Nella Larsen utilize racial passing, the process of a mixed-race individual living as "white," to explore the relations between black and white people during early-twentieth century America. This thesis specifically argues that Chesnutt and Larsen use passing to critique "whiteness." In other words, passing allows Chesnutt and Larsen to investigate, through their light-skinned female characters, the racial biases of the white worlds into which these near-white passers enter. Within this discussion of racial passing and whiteness, I also place the near-white female historically as a figure in American literature, tracing her beginnings as the "tragic mulatta" to her evolution as a strong and no longer "tragic" type. In short, this thesis provides a definition of whiteness and racial passing, offering an inter-related analysis of the changes and revisions of literature's tragic mulatta. This work, then, pulls together how racial passing and the ever-evolving tragic mulatta figure actually serve to critique the demands and bigotries of whiteness. en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Race awareness in literature en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Mullatoes in literature en_US
dc.title "'I wouldn't have believed it -- even of a white man'" : critiquing whiteness in Charles Chesnutt's "The house behind the cedars" and Nella Larsen's "Passing" en_US
dc.type Thesis/Dissertation en_US
dc.degree.name Master of Arts (M.A.) in English en_US
dc.degree.level Master's en_US
dc.degree.discipline Liberal Arts en_US
dc.degree.grantor Oregon State University en_US
dc.contributor.committeemember Robinson, David
dc.description.digitization File scanned at 300 ppi (Monochrome) using ScandAll PRO 1.8.1 on a Fi-6770A in PDF format. CVista PdfCompressor 4.0 was used for pdf compression and textual OCR. en_US
dc.description.peerreview no en_us

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