Passing in “Plum Bun” and “The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man”


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Essay #: 055081
Total text length is 11,553 characters (approximately 8.0 pages).

Excerpts from the Paper

The beginning:
Passing in "Plum Bun" and "The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man"
The concept of “passing,” or pretending to be a member of one group when one actually belongs to another, was a popular subject of literature during the Harlem Renaissance. Taking place during the 1910s and 1920s in the United States, the Harlem Renaissance was so named because of the impressive cultural output of African-Americans who lived in the area of Harlem in New York City, during this time period. Impressive African-American dancers, singers, musicians, writers, and visual artists abounded in Harlem and other areas of the U.S. during the Harlem Renaissance. This was the first major moment of African-American cultural production after the abolishment of slavery and...
The end:
.....on that they would be happier, and more likely to be living as their authentic selves, were they to reassume their African-American heritages instead of continuing to live their lives while passing as white. Passing was an act of safety, comfort, and of the exercise of limited power for these two protagonists, but it was also difficult, and it compromised their psychological health to always be lying and on the lookout for slippages of language or appearance that might give their secrets away. Living with racial discrimination came to be preferred over living a lie.
, Jessie
. Plum Bun. Boston: Beacon Press, 1990.
Johnson, James Weldon. The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man. Grand Rapids, MI: Candace Press, 1996.