Passing

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Felise Freeland Character Analysis

Felise Freeland is a friend of Irene’s and the wife of Dave Freeland. Felise attends Irene’s tea party, and it is at the Freelands’ apartment that Clare falls or is pushed out the window in the book’s dramatic final scene. Irene describes Felise as a perfect combination of beauty and brains.

Felise Freeland Quotes in Passing

The Passing quotes below are all either spoken by Felise Freeland or refer to Felise Freeland. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Passing, Black Identity, and Race Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Anchor Books edition of Passing published in 2001.
Part 3, Chapter 4 Quotes

Drearily she rose from her chair and went upstairs to set about the business of dressing to go out when she would far rather have remained at home. During the process she wondered, for the hundredth time, why she hadn’t told Brian about herself and Felise running into Bellew the day before, and for the hundredth time she turned away from acknowledging to herself the real reason for keeping back the information.

Related Characters: Clare Kendry / Bellew, Irene Redfield, Brian Redfield, Felise Freeland
Page Number: 265
Explanation and Analysis:

This quote describes how Irene’s mind wanders after her fight with Brian over their parenting choices. Irene’s thoughts stray into ruminating, again, about running into John Bellew with Felise. Irene’s mental state is clearly deteriorating by this point in the book. Whereas before Irene loved to socialize, she now dreads getting dressed and leaving the house.

This description of Irene’s thought process also highlights how deeply unreliable Irene’s perspective is; here, Irene admits to the reader her own tendency to omit thoughts that make her uncomfortable. While the narrator notes that Irene “turned away from acknowledging to herself the real reason” that she didn’t tell Brian about her run-in with John, the book—like Irene—never specifies what those reasons are. However, the reader can probably guess what those reasons might be (complex feelings of contempt and jealousy for Clare, and possibly attraction as well), Irene cannot face her own emotions. This quote reveals Irene to be someone who is deeply repressive of her own impulses and desires.

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Felise Freeland Character Timeline in Passing

The timeline below shows where the character Felise Freeland appears in Passing. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 3, Chapter 1
Beauty and Race Theme Icon
Sex, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
...her “decorative qualities,” more than she does. Irene then goes on to compare Clare to Felise Freeland, who is beautiful and smart. She then says that Clare would “bore a man... (full context)
Motherhood, Security, and Freedom Theme Icon
Sex, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Instead, Irene makes small talk with Felise Freeland. Felise notes that Irene looks strained, and asks what is wrong. Irene says she... (full context)
Passing, Black Identity, and Race Theme Icon
Beauty and Race Theme Icon
Sex, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Felise, before leaving her, comments that Clare looks stunning. Irene agrees, and takes in Clare’s fine... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 3
Passing, Black Identity, and Race Theme Icon
...runs into John on the street. It is a cold day and Irene is with Felise Freeland downtown. As they turn a corner, they collide with John. John recognizes Irene, smiles,... (full context)
Passing, Black Identity, and Race Theme Icon
Humor Theme Icon
Felise dryly asks Irene if she has been passing, and says that her presence revealed Irene’s... (full context)
Passing, Black Identity, and Race Theme Icon
Felise becomes distracted by a coat she admires. Meanwhile, Irene thinks about the fact that, if... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 4
Sex, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
...Philadelphia, which is why she ended up being able to come to the party at Felise’s. Irene expresses concern that Philadelphia is not too far away. She thinks about telling Clare... (full context)
Sex, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Humor Theme Icon
Clare asks why Felise lives on the sixth floor, and Irene responds that Felise says it discourages visitors. They... (full context)
Humor Theme Icon
The narrative resumes once the party is in full swing, describing how Dave and Felise are excellent hosts, Brian is witty (even biting, according to Irene), and Ralph Hazelton is... (full context)
Passing, Black Identity, and Race Theme Icon
The doorbell rings, and Felise answers it. Irene then hears John Bellew’s voice, and Felise responds that John’s wife is... (full context)
Sex, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
...that Irene is there, and says that they had all concluded that she had fainted. Felise leans on Dave, looking sick. Irene walks to Brian, who looks deeply upset. Irene asks... (full context)