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The Root of Jealousy In Nella Larsen’s Passing, Irene Redfield and Clare Kendry show us a great deal about race and sexuality in the 1920s. Both are extremely light-skinned women of African-American descent. However similar they appear to be, their views on race, a very controversial issue at the time, differ significantly. Clare chooses to use her physical appearance as an advantage in America’s racist and sexist society, leaving behind everything that connects …

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…herself to think that passing is unnecessary, and that she can live a totally happy life remaining who she is. What she fails to realize is that she is jealous of Clare’s status and sometimes passes herself subconsciously. Larsen presents to us the main point of the book – that the root of the love, hate, desire, and rejection that Irene holds for Clare is a result of social standing, not only passing and sexuality.