First published in 1929, Nella Larsen’s Passing is a classic novel of the Harlem Renaissance. Named for the practice of racial passing, or escaping discrimination by claiming to be white, Larsen’s second novel explores the intricacies of identity in race-obsessed twentieth-century America. The first African American woman to be awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, Larsen was lauded in her time, and interest in her work is experiencing a resurgence. In 2021, Netflix released a film version of Passing directed by Rebecca Hall and starring Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga.


See a complete list of the characters in Passing and in-depth analyses of Irene Redfield, Clare Kendry, and more.

Literary Devices

Here's where you'll find analysis of the literary devices in Passing, from the major themes to motifs, symbols, and more.


Find the quotes you need to support your essay, or refresh your memory of Passing by reading these key quotes.


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