Essay about Immitation of Life: Tragic Mulatta

Essay about Immitation of Life: Tragic Mulatta

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What are stereotypes? Can those stereotypes define our identity? Can your suppose “blood” defines us? I asked myself those questions while watching the Imitation of Life directed by John M. Stahl and based on the novel written by Fannie Hurst. The movie’s storyline is about a white woman (Bea) and her daughter (Jessie) gives the job of housekeeper to a black woman (Delilah) and provides her and her daughter (Peola) a place to live. The shows the differences of both girls growing up on the same house and because they have the same “skin color” they are treated as equal. This happens until the truth of Peola’s background comes to light. Peola started to feel embarrassed and discriminated because of her true identity and so decides to reject her mother completely. Bea and Jessie felt bad on how Peola treated Delilah but they couldn’t do anything to make Peola understand that she was doing wrong. It is not until at the end when Delilah died that Peola understood and regretted everything she did to her mother but it was too late for her to be forgiven. The tragic ending of Peola, even though she didn’t die, shows that when you are trying to be someone else or apparent something you are not; everything ends badly. Peola is not the classic tragic mulatta but she shows that your “blood” defines who you are.
Before starting, I think it will be a good idea to define what stereotype is because it has some effect in the movie. Stereotype is the thought or image of a particular person. In the case of black women some stereotypes are “overbearing, too outspoken, strong, angry, gold diggers, materialistic, oversexed, have lots of children, and unintelligent,” and even also “mammy stereotype.” Not all of these are the case for Delilah; she repr...


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...story 14.3 (2002): 505. Humanities International Complete. Web. 19 Dec. 2013.
Pegues, Dagmar. "Fear And Desire: Regional Aesthetics And Colonial Desire In Kate Chopin's Portrayals Of The Tragic Mulatta Stereotype." Southern Literary Journal 43.1 (2010): 1-22. Humanities International Complete. Web. 19 Dec. 2013.
Rooney, Monique. "What Passes In Imitation Of Life (1959)?." Humanities Research 16.1 (2010): 55-77. Humanities International Complete. Web. 19 Dec. 2013.
Rottenberg, Catherine. "Passing: Race, Identification, And Desire." Criticism 45.4 (2003): 435-452. Humanities International Complete. Web. 19 Dec. 2013.
Scott, Karla D. "Communication Strategies Across Cultural Borders: Dispelling Stereotypes, Performing Competence, And Redefining Black Womanhood." Women's Studies In Communication 36.3 (2013): 312-329. Humanities International Complete. Web. 19 Dec. 2013.

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