Student Theses

Date of Award

Spring 5-22-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)





First Advisor

Karen Weingarten

Second Advisor

Amy Wan


"In this essay, I examine three texts that consider the repercussions of passing for Black Americans. Nella Larsen’s Passing (1929) serves as a namesake for this general idea, as two light-skinned African American women represent the divisionary approach to racial passing. In George S. Schuyler’s Black No More (1931) we see a passing Black man’s virility being tested as he enters an ‘alternate universe’, in which a scientific invention grants him full access to the wondrous white world he’d always dreamed of entering. Finally, in the middle of this textual spectrum is Angelina W. Grimké’s 1919 short story, “The Closing Door,” which bears witness to the same issue, when reproduction serves as the hammer that delivers the final blow to a Black mother’s mental health. In bringing all of these texts together, I aim to demonstrate how reproduction is a physical barrier that interrupts a Black person’s ability to pass."



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