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Helga Crane Choosing to Live an Unhappy Life Book Review

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Nella Larsen’s “Quicksand” depicts a young woman who lives her life around her dyer need to find her place in society. In the setting of Quicksand, discrimination is a key factor in the text because Helga Crane, who is a biracial woman, is expected to settle in a race in which she does not necessarily call her own. With this said, Crane maintains her status as an outsider in both the white and black community, and is never content with her surroundings. She also disregards her peer’s philosophies on life as annoying or absurd. She is constantly looking for a “better” life that will bring her self-fulfillment, but to her misfortune she never finds it. In the text Quicksand, Helga Crane shows great dissatisfaction with her life because of the racial barriers she has set for herself psychologically. She has formed these barriers in her life to keep distance from facing racial discrimination and conformity. Crane fights to keep differentiation between herself and the rest of society, and makes a life choice to not repeat the same mistakes as her given mother. While trying to find her own happiness, Helga Crane looks towards her materialistic views which prove to dissatisfy her in every situation.

Helga Crane put up racial barriers physiologically to protect herself from discrimination and conformity. Crane grew up without a place in the status quo which forced her to blend with wherever she was accepted. Her influences during childhood had a huge impact on her and the way she felt she should be treated, but as she grows older she begins to experience the wrath of racism. Crane experiences her life through the eyes of other people, particularly white people. She allows this factor to control her life and determine what she is capable...

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...s because Helga has not experienced inner happiness. Helga uses her ethnicity as a crutch of why her life has not panned out as it should and she indulges in her own self-pity that only fires her negative defiance. This personal factor has an effect on her outlook and attitude on life and causes her to make selfish and irrational decisions further more leaving her in sorrow and self-pity. When Helga taught at Naxo, she built inside of her a rage of anger and instead of using her disapproval as momentum in changing the world; she used it to fire her thoughts of unfairness and resentment, which she brings her to spiritual and physical defeat in the end.

Works Cited

Morrow, Melinda. "The Audrey Option: Double-bind and Choice in Quicksand." Abstract. Clemson University, n.d. Web. 12 Mar. 2014. .
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