Passing

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Irene Redfield is Clare’s childhood acquaintance, Brian’s wife, and the protagonist of Passing. The book’s narrative is told in third person from Irene’s perspective. Irene is an uptight, intelligent, well-to-do woman from Chicago who lives in Harlem with her husband Brian and sons Ted and Junior. Irene cares deeply about her family life and values security above all else. Irene’s light skin allows her to pass as white when she is alone. Irene is committed to advancing black equality and takes part in activism to that end. Irene first meets Clare (as an adult) during a trip to Chicago, when she also meets Clare’s violently racist husband John. Not wanting to deal with John, and angry with Clare for subjecting her to John’s hate, Irene resolves to have nothing to do with Clare. She goes back on this resolution two years later, when Clare contacts her in New York and the two women strike up a friendship. Irene, however, harbors antipathy toward Clare for ambiguous and complex reasons. She eventually convinces herself that Clare and Brian are having an affair, but also may have repressed feelings for Clare herself. Irene, overcome by her jealousy and anxiety, is standing next to Clare when Clare falls through the window. The narrator is unclear whether Clare’s death was an accident or Irene pushed her.

Irene Redfield Quotes in Passing

The Passing quotes below are all either spoken by Irene Redfield or refer to Irene Redfield. 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 1, Chapter 1 Quotes

This, she reflected, was of a piece with all that she knew of Clare Kendry. Stepping always on the edge of danger. Always aware, but not drawing back or turning aside. Certainly not because of any alarms or feeling of outrage on the part of others.

Related Characters: Clare Kendry / Bellew, Irene Redfield
Related Symbols: Doorways, Windows, Thresholds
Page Number: 172
Explanation and Analysis:

This quote appears in the first few pages of the first chapter of the text. Irene has just received her second letter from Clare, which she recognizes because the type of paper and ink are exactly the same as the letter she received two years before. Irene’s thoughts on the letter help to establish for the reader the relationship between the two women—it’s clearly one of mixed feelings, and Irene’s ambivalence toward Clare will continue throughout the book.

Irene’s descriptions of Clare as “on the edge of danger” foreshadow Clare’s deadly fall from the window at the book’s end. Moreover, the idea that Clare is in danger because she is perched on a threshold between two spaces is a consistent theme throughout the book, since Larsen uses Clare to explore the liminal space of “passing” and being part of both black and white communities. As the book goes on, it becomes clear that the in-between-space Clare occupies, although beneficial in many ways, also takes an enormous toll on her emotionally.

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You can’t know how in this pale life of mine I am all the time seeing the bright pictures of that other that I once thought I was glad to be free of….It’s like an ache, a pain that never ceases.

Related Characters: Clare Kendry / Bellew (speaker), Irene Redfield
Page Number: 174
Explanation and Analysis:

Clare writes this quote in her second letter to Irene, describing the pain she feels at her alienation from the black community. Clare has received many privileges through passing, including insulation from racial violence, financial security, and the ability to spend time in all-white spaces. However, despite these benefits, Clare is still clearly extremely unhappy and feels tremendously lonely. When Clare describes her life as “pale,” she plays on the idea of paleness as both a complexion and a lack of vibrancy. Through Clare, Larsen conveys the psychological toll that passing can take on black people.

Part 1, Chapter 2 Quotes

White people were so stupid about such things for all that they usually asserted that they were able to tell; and by the most ridiculous means: fingernails, palms of hands, shapes of ears, teeth, and other equally silly rot. They always took her for an Italian, a Spaniard, a Mexican, or a Gypsy. Never, when she was alone, had they even remotely seemed to suspect that she was a Negro. No, the woman sitting there staring at her couldn’t possibly know.

Related Characters: Clare Kendry / Bellew, Irene Redfield
Page Number: 178
Explanation and Analysis:

A kind stranger has dropped Irene off at the Drayton (an all white hotel in Chicago) after Irene nearly fainted from heatstroke while souvenir shopping. Here, Irene is sitting at the Drayton sipping tea and reflecting on the fact that nobody there can tell that she is black.

Irene expresses her belief that the idea of being able to definitively determine someone’s race through a series of physical clues is stupid. Irene associates this folly with white people, whom she describes as being obsessed with decoding race through specific physical features or body parts. Irene takes pleasure it the fact that no white person ever succeeds in guessing her race when she is alone, and she revels in being the example that disproves the idea that, by scrutinizing physical features, someone can definitively determine another person’s race.

Irene’s resistance to the idea that race can always be read through physical clues is radical because race, at least in the imagination of 1920s America, was understood to be a series of discreet categories rooted in physical and genetic difference. Passing as white challenges the very idea of race because it suggests that race is uncontainable in strict physical categories.

Her lips, painted a brilliant geranium red, were sweet and sensitive and a little obstinate. A tempting mouth. The face across the forehead and cheeks was a trifle too wide, but the ivory skin had a peculiar soft luster. And the eyes were magnificent! Dark, sometimes absolutely black, always luminous, and set in long, black lashes. Arresting eyes, slow and mesmeric, and with, for all their warmth, something withdrawn and secret about them. Ah! Surely! They were Negro eyes! Mysterious and concealing. And set in that ivory face under that bright hair, there was about them something exotic. Yes, Clare Kendry’s loveliness was absolute, beyond challenge, thanks to those eyes which her grandmother and later her mother and father had given her.

Related Characters: Clare Kendry / Bellew, Irene Redfield
Page Number: 190-191
Explanation and Analysis:

As Irene and Clare drink iced tea together and catch up at the Drayton after their chance meeting, Irene takes in Clare’s beauty, describing each part of her face in detail. This quote demonstrates one of the many instances in which Irene expounds upon Clare’s beauty, trying to make sense of her striking combination of features. Irene’s obsession with Clare’s beauty becomes quite noticeable as the book goes on, so much so that it transcends platonic aesthetic appreciation and approaches erotic desire.

Irene’s sexual attraction to Clare is even apparent in this quote. For example, Irene describes Clare’s mouth as “tempting,” suggesting that Irene is imagining kissing Clare. Meanwhile, Clare’s eyes “mesmerize” her, as they seem to contain something “withdrawn and secret” about them. By evoking language about enclosure and secrecy, Irene’s thoughts seem illicit, forbidden—like the possibility of Irene’s desire for Clare.

Moreover, although Irene has previously dismissed the idea of determining race through physical features, she entertains it here by referring to Clare’s “negro eyes.” Irene attributes Clare’s beauty to the interplay between her light hair and skin and her dark eyes, suggesting that Irene is attracted to the fact that Clare has an “exotic” look—Clare does not correspond to traditional beauty standards.

Part 1, Chapter 3 Quotes

Later, when she examined her feeling of annoyance, Irene admitted, a shade reluctantly, that it arose from a feeling of being outnumbered, a sense of aloneness, in her adherence to her own class and kind; not merely in the great thing of marriage, but in the whole pattern of her life as well.

Related Characters: Clare Kendry / Bellew, Irene Redfield, Gertrude Martin
Page Number: 195
Explanation and Analysis:

Irene has reluctantly gone to have tea with Clare, and when she arrives, Clare brings her into a room where Irene finds one of their mutual childhood acquaintances, Gertrude. Here, the narrator is expressing Irene’s frustration with Gertrude and Clare, who both married white men and seem to think that their choice was superior to Irene’s choice to marry a black man.

Interestingly, Irene being the only one in the room to have married a black man makes her feel “a sense of aloneness.” Later, when Clare begins to spend more time with Irene, Clare expresses how deeply lonely she feels in her marriage to John, a white man. Irene feels judged and, in this instance, lonely for not having a part in white society, while Clare feels lonely for having lost her place in the black community. It’s notable that both Irene and Clare’s senses of alienation come because of their choices in marriage.

It’s awful the way it skips generations and then pops out. Why, he actually said he didn’t care what color it turned out, if I would only stop worrying about it. But, of course, nobody wants a dark child.

Related Characters: Gertrude Martin (speaker), Clare Kendry / Bellew, Irene Redfield
Page Number: 197
Explanation and Analysis:

Gertrude says this as she, Irene, and Clare discuss their marriages and children over tea in Chicago. Both Gertrude and Clare are married to white men and have light-skinned children, while Irene is married to a black man and has one son who has light skin and one who is dark. Gertrude and Clare both admit to their anxiety during pregnancy about the possibility of having dark-skinned children.

Gertrude’s husband, unlike Clare’s husband, knows that she is black, and so Gertrude does not need her children to be light skinned in order to keep her own race a secret. Moreover, Gertrude clearly states that her husband did not care what their children looked like. Still, Gertrude clearly expresses a preference for light-skinned children, and she even actively disparages dark children, calling the way skin pigmentation can skip generations “awful” and saying harshly “nobody wants a dark child.”

Although it’s possible that Gertrude simply wants light-skinned children so that they may experience more privileges by passing as white, Gertrude’s negative language suggests that her preference comes from deeply internalized racism. The racist beauty standards of American society have so influenced Gertrude’s thinking that she thinks of blackness as aesthetically unappealing.

He roared with laughter. Clare’s ringing bell-like laugh joined his. Gertrude, after another uneasy shift in her seat, added her shrill one. Irene, who had been sitting with lips tightly compressed, cried out: “That’s good!” and gave way to gales of laughter. She laughed and laughed and laughed. Tears ran down her cheeks. Her sides ached. Her throat hurt. She laughed on and on and on, long after the others had subsided.

Related Characters: Clare Kendry / Bellew, Irene Redfield, John/Jack Bellew, Gertrude Martin
Page Number: 201
Explanation and Analysis:

This scene takes place after John has come home and, not knowing that Irene, Gertrude, and his own wife are all black, he called Clare a racist slur in front of them. John then explains that it is an inside joke between them. John laughs at his own joke, and the rest of the women begin to laugh, as well, for a variety of different reasons. Clare and Gertrude seem to be laughing to keep John from finding their silence or disapproval suspicious. Irene, meanwhile, bursts out with genuine laughter, but not because she thinks that John’s joke was funny. Rather, Irene laughs because of the irony of the moment—John, who hates black people, has no idea that he is drinking tea with black women, and, in fact, has married one.

The irony of the moment could certainly be perceived as funny, but it is also extremely dark. This scene shows how humor, rather than creating commonalities between people, can be disturbing and divisive and can expose gaps in empathy and understanding. At the same time, though, the humor is necessary—both practically, so the women do not reveal Clare’s secret, and emotionally, because there are few other options for dealing with the bleak situation.

Part 1, Chapter 4 Quotes

Not so lonely that that old, queer, unhappy restlessness had begun again within him; that craving for some place strange and different, which at the beginning of her marriage she had had to make such strenuous efforts to repress, and which yet faintly alarmed her, though it now sprang up at gradually lessening intervals.

Related Characters: Irene Redfield, John/Jack Bellew
Page Number: 208
Explanation and Analysis:

The narrator describes Irene’s thoughts as she worries about her marriage to Brian. Irene thinks about the “old, queer, unhappy” restlessness that makes Brian want to move to South America, which has been a problem since the beginning of their marriage.

Curiously, the way that Irene thinks about Brian’s longing for South America is extremely intimate, as if Irene understands this “craving.” This seems odd, since Irene and Brian struggle with a distinct lack of communication in their marriage. In fact, the reader might wonder if Irene is using her own experience with a “queer, unhappy restlessness” to attempt to describe what she thinks it must be like for Brian.

The use of the word “queer,” paired with Irene’s consistent obsession with Clare’s beauty, makes the reader wonder whether Irene is also describing here her own attraction to women. Irene uses language that suggests closeted queerness, calling Brian’s desire (but perhaps her own as well) a “craving” for the “strange and different,” and something that Irene has had to actively repress. As usual, the unreliability of Irene’s perspective and Irene’s own lack of self-awareness leaves the narrative open to speculation.

Part 2, Chapter 1 Quotes

Brian, she was thinking, was extremely good-looking. Not, of course, pretty or effeminate; the slight irregularity of his nose saved him from the prettiness, and the rather marked heaviness of his chin saved him from the effeminacy. But he was, in a pleasant masculine way, rather handsome. And yet, wouldn’t he, perhaps, have been merely ordinarily good-looking but for the richness, the beauty of his skin, which was of an exquisitely fine texture and deep copper color?

Related Characters: Irene Redfield, Brian Redfield
Page Number: 214
Explanation and Analysis:

In this quote, Irene is watching Brian read a letter and evaluating his attractiveness. In comparison to Irene’s many drawn-out, lush, and impassioned descriptions of Clare’s beauty, this description of Brian’s attractiveness (the only one in the novel) reads more like a catalogue of traits than a gushing, impulsive admiration. The contrast between Irene’s descriptions of Clare’s and Brian’s beauty serves as more evidence of Irene’s repressed queerness. Moreover, throughout this description, Irene takes note of exactly which features make Brian “not… pretty or effeminate,” suggesting perhaps that Irene pays close attention to gender in evaluating beauty.

Irene also takes note of Brian’s dark skin and suggests that his attractiveness is cemented by his dark coloring. Irene’s appreciation is aesthetic, as she admires its “deep copper color.” But, considering Irene’s commitment to racial justice, Irene’s appreciation might also be political. Irene wants to embrace blackness, which has been dismissed by traditional, racist beauty standards.

It’s funny about ‘passing.’ We disapprove of it and at the same time condone it. It excites our contempt and yet we rather admire it. We shy away from it with an odd kind of revulsion, but we protect it.

Related Characters: Irene Redfield (speaker), Brian Redfield
Page Number: 216
Explanation and Analysis:

Irene speaks this quote after she and Brian have moved from talking about Clare’s second letter to discussing the nuances of the phenomenon of passing as white. This quote could almost be taken as the book’s thesis on passing, and it is one of the few moments in the book that gives the reader clarity on the subject.

Irene’s statement expresses the deep ambivalence that the black community feels toward passing. Irene describes the simultaneous feelings of contempt and admiration that passing elicits in black people, and this shows that passing is a fraught but established aspect of the black experience in the United States. Irene’s description of ambivalence towards passing reflects the broader ambivalence that categorizes Irene’s feelings about nearly everything throughout the book—passing, Clare, Brian, etc.

Well, what of it? If sex isn’t a joke, what is it? And what is a joke? …The sooner and the more he learns about sex, the better for him. And most certainly if he learns that it’s a grand joke, the greatest in the world. It’ll keep him from lots of disappointments later on.

Related Characters: Brian Redfield (speaker), Irene Redfield, Brian Junior (Junior)
Page Number: 220
Explanation and Analysis:

Brian speaks this quote as he and Irene drive to the printshop so Irene can print tickets for the Negro Welfare League dance. Irene has just brought up her concern that Junior is learning dirty jokes about sex from the other boys at his school, and Brian, already angry at Irene because of his job frustrations, lashes out at her.

As Brian articulates his frustration with Irene’s worries—asking what her problem is with jokes about sex—Larsen again calls into question the appropriate use of humor. Brian sees “serious” subjects like sex as being compatible with humor, while Irene would like to separate the two. Clearly, the implication of Brian’s statement (that learning that sex is a joke will save Junior from “lots of disappointments later on”) is that Brian’s sex life with Irene is a disappointment. This hurtful comment displays how troubled their marriage is, and Brian’s lack of fulfillment in it.

Part 2, Chapter 2 Quotes

Clare had come softly into the room without knocking and, before Irene could greet her, had dropped a kiss on her dark curls… Redfield had a sudden inexplicable onrush of affectionate feeling. Reaching out, she grasped Clare’s two hands in her own and cried with something like awe in her voice: “Dear God! But aren’t you lovely Clare!”

Related Characters: Irene Redfield (speaker), Clare Kendry / Bellew
Page Number: 224-225
Explanation and Analysis:

In this quote, Irene is upstairs in her room when Clare drops by. Clare enters the room and, as described in this quote, kisses Irene on the head. Irene reacts to Clare’s kiss with “a sudden inexplicable onrush of affectionate feeling,” then holds Clare’s face and tells Clare that she is “lovely.”

Irene’s reaction to Clare’s physical touch is extremely emotional, especially considering that nothing similar ever occurs in the book between Irene and Brian (in fact, they never kiss, while Clare kisses Irene several times). Irene feels an “onrush of [affection]” and has “awe” in her voice as she compliments Clare, despite the fact that Irene professes to dislike Clare. This intimate moment serves as more evidence of the possibility that Irene harbors erotic and romantic feelings for Clare.

Irene…had the same thought that she had had two years ago on the roof of the Drayton, that Clare Kendry was just a shade too good-looking. Her tone was on the edge of irony as she said: “You mean because so many other white people go?”

Related Characters: Irene Redfield (speaker), Clare Kendry / Bellew
Page Number: 229
Explanation and Analysis:

In this scene, Clare is asking Irene about the Negro Welfare League dance, which Irene is helping to organize. Clare has just remarked with surprise that white people attend the Negro Welfare League dance, and she has asked if she can go, too. Irene clearly feels threatened by and jealous of Clare’s beauty, and in an attempt to slight her, Irene asks if Clare wants to go “because so many other white people go.”

Although Irene knows that Clare has black ancestry and grew up in a black community, Irene is essentially implying that Clare is a white person. This question, clearly intended to be hurtful, shows the precariousness of racial identity for someone like Clare who is white-passing. Clare is not “black enough” according to Irene, and this could be for a multitude of reasons: the fact that Clare is so light-skinned, that she pretends she has no black ancestry in public, or that she benefits from white privilege. Meanwhile, to Clare’s racist husband, any black ancestry would make Clare wholly black in his eyes and would cause him to reject her. This scene between Irene and Clare showcases the difficulty of navigating society as someone who is straddling two racial identities, and who, as a result, is not totally welcome among either black or white people.

You didn’t tell him you were colored, so he’s got no way of knowing about this hankering of yours after Negroes, or that it galls you to fury to hear them called niggers and black devils. As far as I can see, you’ll just have to endure some things and give up others. As we’ve said before, everything must be paid for.

Related Characters: Irene Redfield (speaker), Clare Kendry / Bellew, John/Jack Bellew
Page Number: 231
Explanation and Analysis:

In this quote, Irene and Clare are talking about Clare’s marriage to John Bellew. Clare has just expressed her martial frustration and despair, saying that she would like to kill John. Irene dryly responds that capital punishment is still the penalty for murder, and then lectures Clare about her own culpability in her situation.

Irene’s condescending response puts the blame for Clare’s situation on Clare, as Irene reminds Clare that she has subjected herself to John’s racism since she never told him about her race. Irene’s belief that “everything must be paid for” reflects Irene’s sense that by living as a white person and benefitting from white privilege, Clare must sacrifice her black identity and community—to Irene, it’s ridiculous for Clare to expect to hold onto both. Larsen shows the reader how passing can be both beneficial and damaging to the individuals that choose to pass as white, helping them financially and socially but damaging them psychologically.

Part 2, Chapter 3 Quotes

She…let her gaze wander over the bright crowd below. Young men, old men, white men, black men; youthful women, older women, pink women, golden women; fat men, thin men, tall men, short men; stout women, slim women, stately women, small women moved by.

Related Characters: Irene Redfield
Page Number: 234-235
Explanation and Analysis:

In this scene, which Irene remembers in retrospect, Irene sits next to Hugh Wentworth and observes the crowd at the Negro Welfare League dance. Irene takes in the scene, noting how different all the members of the crowd are from one another. In Irene’s observation about diversity, she takes in not only the mix of races and the spectrum of skin colors, but also the crowd’s breadth of ages and sizes. This shows how many factors can categorize a person, which suggests how arbitrary it is that, in the 1920s, segregation is based purely on race and skin-color. Moreover, when describing the skin colors of members of the crowd, Irene not only uses terms like “black” and “white,” but also “pink” and “golden.” This suggests that the terms usually used to describe skin-color (“black” and “white”) create a false racial dichotomy, and don’t represent the breadth of human diversity.

I think what they feel is—well, a kind of emotional excitement. You know, the sort of thing you feel in the presence of something strange, and even, perhaps, a bit repugnant to you; something so different that it’s really at the opposite end of the pole from all your accustomed notions of beauty.

Related Characters: Irene Redfield (speaker), Clare Kendry / Bellew, Hugh Wentworth
Page Number: 236
Explanation and Analysis:

Irene says this to Hugh as they discuss the connection between race and beauty. Hugh remarked that he thinks that white women prefer to dance with dark-skinned black men instead of with white men. Irene counters Hugh’s thesis with this thought, reframing what Hugh described as attraction as “emotional excitement.”

Irene’s view of the social phenomenon that Hugh describes suggests that white women are attracted to dark-skinned black men because of an attraction to what is “strange,” forbidden, and even a little bit “repugnant” to them. Irene notes how beauty standards, rather than being purely aesthetic, are inflected through the societal view of race. White women’s attraction to black men, Irene hypothesizes, comes from their sense that these men are the opposite of what they are “supposed” to want.

Since Irene and Hugh were just talking about Clare, the reader might imagine that Irene is still thinking of Clare as she describes this attraction. Irene could easily be describing her own queer attraction to Clare as she talks about feeling the object of her desire is the opposite of what she should be expected to want. Moreover, if Irene is using her own attraction to Clare to analyze this phenomenon, her sense of attraction paired with “repugnance” could be due to her own internalized homophobia.

Part 2, Chapter 4 Quotes

“Children aren’t everything…There are other things in the world, though I admit some people don’t seem to suspect it.” And she laughed, more, it seemed, at some secret joke of her own that at her words.

Related Characters: Clare Kendry / Bellew (speaker), Irene Redfield, Margery
Page Number: 240
Explanation and Analysis:

Clare says this to Irene as she and Irene discuss the fact that Clare is leaving New York in March. Clare laments her impending departure and wonders if she can find a way to stay. Irene, not wanting Clare to stick around, reminds Clare that she will finally be able to see her daughter Margery, who has been at school in Switzerland for a long time. Clare, however, who has very different views of motherhood than Irene does, waves off this notion, telling Irene “children aren’t everything” and then laughing. Irene bristles after hearing this, believing that Clare is making fun of her.

This scene highlights the two women’s extremely different experience of parenting—Clare does not especially enjoy motherhood, and thinks of her identity as separate from her role as a parent. For Irene, on the other hand, her children are her entire world. Clare’s laughter and Irene’s woundedness at Clare’s mocking tone show how differently the two women view parenthood. While Clare feels that she can joke about it, Irene thinks parenting is serious, and therefore cannot be made humorous.

Part 3, Chapter 1 Quotes

Brian. What did it mean? How would it affect her and the boys? The boys! She had a surge of relief. It ebbed, vanished. A feeling of absolute unimportance followed. Actually, she didn’t count. She was, to him, only the mother of his sons. That was all. Alone she was nothing. Worse. An obstacle.

Related Characters: Irene Redfield, Brian Redfield, Brian Junior (Junior), Theodore (Ted)
Page Number: 254
Explanation and Analysis:

In this quote, Irene contemplates the potential consequences of Brian and Clare’s alleged affair. She wonders what the affair would mean for her and her children. Upon remembering that she is tied to Brian through their shared offspring, Irene first feels a strong sense of relief. Then, however, this relief dissipates, replaced by a feeling of unimportance. Irene thinks that, to Brian, she is nothing more than the mother of his sons. This passage suggests that, through fulfilling the traditional feminine role of an extremely careful and devoted mother, Irene has lost something of her selfhood, at least in the context of her marriage to Brian. Rather than being connected because of who they each are as people, Irene feels connected to Brian only because of Junior and Ted. This suggests one drawback of motherhood for women: it can potentially eclipse other aspects of life, leaving them hollow.

Did you notice that cup…It was the ugliest thing that your ancestors, the charming Confederates, ever owned…What I’m coming to is the fact that I’ve never figured out a way of getting rid of it until about five minutes ago. I had an inspiration. I had only to break it, and I was rid of it forever. So simple!

Related Characters: Irene Redfield (speaker), Clare Kendry / Bellew, Brian Redfield, Hugh Wentworth
Page Number: 255
Explanation and Analysis:

Irene says this to Hugh Wentworth during the tea party at her house. Irene has just begun to suspect that Brian and Clare are having an affair, and as she watches them talk, she becomes so upset that she drops her teacup, which smashes on the floor. When Hugh takes the blame for the cup breaking, Irene assumes—in a somewhat convoluted way—that he does so because he knows that Irene suspects Brian’s infidelity. To try to regain her dignity, Irene makes up the story above.

Irene uses race to cover up her suspicions, saying that the cup was Confederate and implying that that is part of the reason that she thinks that it’s ugly. In this moment Irene, as she often does, is displacing her own emotional reactions by using charged concepts (like race and motherhood) to distract from them or explain them. Although Irene does care a lot about race, as with motherhood, she is clearly willing to use it for her own means, in order to shape how others see her.

Moreover, the cup’s fall, and Irene’s comment that “I had only to break it, and I was rid of it forever,” foreshadow Clare’s fall to death later in the book, and Irene’s possible culpability in it. If there is a parallel between the two, then Larsen may be suggesting that, as with the cup, Irene uses race and motherhood as larger excuses to obscure her personal dislike of Clare. In this moment, the reader sees Irene explicitly narrating her own life in a way that is unreliable, emphasizing the unreliability of the narrative according to Irene’s perspective in general.

Part 3, Chapter 2 Quotes

She was caught between two allegiances, different, yet the same. Herself. Her race. Race! The thing that bound and suffocated her…Irene Redfield wished, for the first time in her life, that she had not been born a Negro. For the first time she suffered and rebelled because she was unable to disregard the burden of race. It was, she cried silently, enough to suffer as a woman, an individual, on one’s own account, without having to suffer for the race as well.

Related Characters: Clare Kendry / Bellew, Irene Redfield
Page Number: 258
Explanation and Analysis:

In this quote, Irene is contemplating her complex, conflicting feelings towards Clare, who she believes is having an affair with Brian. Irene feels conflicted because she is ideologically and emotionally committed to solidarity among black people, and so she feels that she cannot expose Clare’s lie about her race. While Irene has often found purpose and community in this solidarity, she now feels that her obligation to protect other black people is “suffocating,” which makes Irene wish for the first time that she weren’t black and therefore didn’t have a responsibility to her race. Larsen draws attention to the frustration that black people might feel in being caught between a commitment to advancing and supporting other black people and a commitment to their own desires.

Irene also brings up her suffering as a woman, which she rarely emphasizes during the rest of the book. It is unclear whether Irene is simply bringing up womanhood as a way to make her self-pitying more convincing, since Irene often uses larger social roles or issues to obscure her individual emotions and responsibilities. It’s also possible that the aspects of womanhood that Irene has up until this point narrated without complaint are, in fact, oppressive to her. For example, while Irene consistently asserts that she loves motherhood, she also clearly feels an intense pressure to be a perfect mother (think of how she risks heatstroke to find the right coloring book for Ted). When Clare describes mothering as “the cruelest thing,” Irene actually agrees with her, suggesting that, despite her insistence that she loves mothering, Irene might also find motherhood constraining.

Additionally, Irene’s obsession with security, and consequential need to maintain her marriage, imply the fact that, for women in the 1920s, being unmarried could be dangerous or at the very least extremely difficult. Irene lacks income of her own, she finds herself tied to Brian without any romance because, without him, Irene would find herself completely financially insecure.

Part 3, Chapter 3 Quotes

Above everything else she had wanted, had striven, to keep undisturbed the pleasant routine of her life. And now Clare Kendry had come into it, and with her the menace of impermanence.

Related Characters: Clare Kendry / Bellew, Irene Redfield
Page Number: 262
Explanation and Analysis:

In this quote, Irene thinks about the potential consequences that Clare and Brian’s alleged affair could have on her carefully curated life and routine. Irene clearly blames this supposed affair on Clare, rather than splitting the blame between Clare and Brian (or even on herself for her lack of communication and care for her husband). Moreover, Irene is not upset about the idea that Brian’s infidelity might mean that he doesn’t love her, or that it might indicate the hollowness of their marriage. Rather, Irene is worried about maintaining the structure of her life, even if the content of it is a sham. It’s also worth noting that Clare’s potential threat to Irene’s relationship is not only because of the alleged affair; Clare has also upended Irene’s world because of Irene’s attraction to her.

To Irene, Clare is a “menace of impermanence,” and she represents a disruption to the architecture of Irene’s world. In the novel, Clare generally is a figure who disturbs preexisting notions of the limits and conditions of reality (including as they pertain to sex and race). As Clare undermines black-and-white views of race and sex, she challenges not only Irene’s marriage, but also the very structure of society.

Part 3, Chapter 4 Quotes

“I want their childhood to be happy and as free from the knowledge of such things as it possibly can be”….

“You know as well as I do, Irene, that it can’t. What was the use of our trying to keep them from learning the word ‘nigger’ and its connotation? They found out, didn’t they? And how? Because somebody called Junior a dirty nigger.”

Related Characters: Irene Redfield (speaker), Brian Redfield (speaker), Brian Junior (Junior), Theodore (Ted)
Page Number: 263
Explanation and Analysis:

This dialogue takes place as Irene and Brian fight over how best to address racism with their children. Ted has just asked Brian why black people are being lynched and why white people hate black people. This discussion is timely—racist violence and hate crimes were on the rise throughout the country in the 1920s. Irene, however, does not want to address the problem with Ted and Junior, while Brian insists that they must.

Irene wants Ted and Junior’s childhoods to be happy and insulated from the racism that they, being black boys, will inevitably face. Irene consistently values security and the illusion of control over the truth throughout the book, and this is particularly apparent in how Irene parents and in how she screens her own emotions and desires from view as she narrates the story. Brian, on the other hand, insists that they have to address racism with their children, since it will inevitably be a part of their lives. He cites one occasion when they tried to prevent their children from learning the significance of the word “nigger,” and then someone called Junior a “nigger” anyway. This poignant example shows how painful it is to navigate racism when parenting black children in a world that is so hostile to black people. It also shows the pitfalls of Irene’s tendency towards denial.

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.

Security. Was it just a word? If not, then was it only by the sacrifice of other things, happiness, love, or some wild ecstasy that she had never known, that it could be obtained? And did too much striving, too much faith in safety and permanence, unfit one for these other things? Irene didn’t know, couldn’t decide, though for a long time she sat questioning and trying to understand. Yet all the while, in spite of her searchings and feeling of frustration, she was aware that, to her, security was the most important and desired thing in life.

Related Characters: Irene Redfield
Page Number: 267
Explanation and Analysis:

In this quote, as Irene thinks over the possibility (which Irene has now decided is a certainty) that Brian and Clare are having an affair, Irene meditates on her desire for security above all else in her life. Irene wonders if, in order to obtain security, she has to sacrifice other aspects of her life, including love and “ecstasy.” This tradeoff highlights how devoid Irene’s marriage to Brian is of affection and intimacy.

The word “ecstasy” connotes sexual pleasure, suggesting that, if Irene were to give up her marriage to Brian and the security it affords, she could potentially find not only love but also physical intimacy. Clare, for whom Irene harbors confusing feelings of affection and attraction, represents everything that security is not. This suggests that, while Irene professes to worry about Clare stealing Brian from her, it is possible that Irene is, in fact, subconsciously worried about giving in to her desire for Clare.

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Irene Redfield Character Timeline in Passing

The timeline below shows where the character Irene Redfield appears in Passing. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1, Chapter 1
Passing, Black Identity, and Race Theme Icon
Passing opens with Irene Redfield finding a letter in her mail stack written in purple ink on Italian paper,... (full context)
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As Irene looks at the letter, she imagines Clare as she knew her when she was a... (full context)
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Irene then remembers the day Bob died in a saloon fight, when Clare was fifteen years... (full context)
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Irene, returning her attention to the letter, opens the envelope and begins to read. The letter... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 2
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In Irene’s flashback to “that time in Chicago,” she remembers the day being very hot. Irene is... (full context)
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As a crowd gathers around the man, Irene withdraws from the mass of people. She fans herself, then realizes that she is about... (full context)
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Irene sits at a table near the window. When her iced tea arrives, Irene enjoys it... (full context)
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However, contrary to Irene’s expectations, only the woman sits down, and the man says goodbye to her and leaves.... (full context)
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The waiter returns with the woman’s order, and Irene watches the woman prepare to eat the melon she asked for. Irene realizes that she... (full context)
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Suddenly, Irene worries that the woman has realized that Irene is a black woman sipping tea in... (full context)
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Irene returns the woman’s gaze again, thinking this time that it does not seem hostile. Suddenly,... (full context)
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Irene continues to search her brain for the woman’s identity, and notices that her failure to... (full context)
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Irene then remembers that, after her father died, Clare went to live with family in a... (full context)
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Though her father did not tell Irene much, Irene suspects that there was more to the story. She later heard many rumors... (full context)
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Irene expresses her surprise at seeing Clare, who says she is not, in fact, surprised to... (full context)
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Irene defends herself for having not thought of Clare, telling Clare that, like everyone, she is... (full context)
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Clare tells Irene that it was these rejections that made her decide not to go back to the... (full context)
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Clare then asks Irene to tell her about her life, and if she is married. They talk for an... (full context)
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When the clock strikes the hour, Irene jumps up and says she must go. Irene remembers that she has not asked Clare... (full context)
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Clare begs Irene not to go, and asks to see her again, saying she will be in Chicago... (full context)
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Irene then impulsively invites Clare to go to Idlewild (a lake resort that, unlike most 1920s... (full context)
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Irene has the feeling that Clare is mocking her, but is not sure why. But she... (full context)
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Still, Irene does not leave. She is curious about Clare’s life, and her choice to pass in... (full context)
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Irene is shocked that Clare has not had to explain her background, and Clare seems amused... (full context)
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...and harbored racist ideas about black people that they justified with Bible stories. Clare tells Irene that it was hard for her, but that they provided for her materially and gave... (full context)
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Clare describes her determination to get away from her aunts. Clare then tells Irene that when she went back to visit their neighborhood, she was jealous of everyone who... (full context)
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...Side in order to spend time with John, and then eloped with and married him. Irene asks why Clare’s aunts did not tell Irene’s father that she was married, mentioning that... (full context)
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Clare gets teary at the idea of Irene’s father asking about her, and explains that she didn’t tell her aunts why she had... (full context)
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Clare returns to the subject of passing, asking Irene if she ever thought about trying to join white society. Irene says no in a... (full context)
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As Irene observes Clare, fascinated by her choices, she thinks that Clare has always had a somewhat... (full context)
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Clare asks if Irene can see her on Monday or Tuesday, and Irene tells Clare that she is busy... (full context)
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After Irene is away from the Drayton and on her way back to her father’s house, she... (full context)
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Irene climbs the steps to her father’s house, thinking about what her father’s reaction will be... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 3
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Tuesday comes around, and the weather is cloudy and foggy, which Irene sees as another reason why she should not go see Clare. Clare rings Irene’s telephone... (full context)
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Irene tries to tell Clare she cannot see her, but Clare begs Irene to come have... (full context)
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When Irene arrives at Clare’s place, Clare greets her with a kiss, and smilingly tells her how... (full context)
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Gertrude, a mutual childhood acquaintance, greets Irene. Irene thinks about how Gertrude, like Clare, married a white man. Unlike Clare, however, Gertrude’s... (full context)
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Irene observes Gertrude, thinking she seems uncomfortable, and feels annoyed. The narrator notes that later, when... (full context)
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Irene agrees, and asks how Clare found Gertrude. Clare says she looked up the contact information... (full context)
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Clare tells Irene that Gertrude told her before Irene arrived about her two twin boys, and the tone... (full context)
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...children because she was so terrified during her pregnancy that Margery would have dark skin. Irene is silent. Gertrude empathizes with Clare. She says that, while her husband would have been... (full context)
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Irene promptly replies that one of her boys is dark, and Gertrude is shocked and embarrassed.... (full context)
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...black people think too much about skin pigment, and saying it’s not so important for Irene, or even for Gertrude. Clare says that only “deserters” like her have to be afraid... (full context)
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Clare is embarrassed, and backpedals, but then says she is surprised Irene would have expected them to think of that. The conversation gets tense. Meanwhile, Gertrude is... (full context)
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Irene is about to leave when Clare’s husband John arrives. Irene observes his appearance as he... (full context)
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Clare introduces John to Gertrude and Irene, and then asks if Irene and Gertrude heard her husband’s nickname for her. John laughingly... (full context)
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...ancestry. John insists that it would, saying he will have “no niggers in [his] family.” Irene fights the urge to laugh, grabs a cigarette, and makes eye contact with Clare. The... (full context)
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Irene asks John if he dislikes black people, and John responds that he and Clare both... (full context)
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Gertrude makes a noise, and Irene cannot tell whether it is a giggle or a snort. The room is silent and... (full context)
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Irene is still furious, but out of allegiance to Clare, she tries to collect herself, and... (full context)
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...and asks Gertrude about her life in Chicago. As they discuss Chicago and New York, Irene is astonished by the fact that she, Clare, and Gertrude are sitting with John and... (full context)
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Clare offers Irene more tea, but Irene refuses and says she must go. Everyone stands up, and John... (full context)
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...street, Gertrude exclaims that Clare must be crazy to be living in that situation, and Irene agrees that it seems risky. Gertrude says she would never have married her own white... (full context)
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Irene and Gertrude part ways. Now alone, Irene processes the tea party, and her own contemptuous... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 4
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The next morning, the day Irene is to leave from Chicago for New York, she receives a letter from Clare. She... (full context)
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Irene, however, cannot quell her curiosity and so reads the letter on the train home from... (full context)
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The letter does not assuage Irene’s anger or embarrassment about the meeting and John’s racism. Irene tears the letter into little... (full context)
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Afterward, Irene thinks she will never see Clare again, and that if she does, she will ignore... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 1
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The narrator returns to Irene at present, in her home in New York, holding the second letter she has received... (full context)
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Irene vows not to repeat the day in Chicago, which was so humiliating and hurtful to... (full context)
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Irene wonders why, during their tea in Chicago, she did not reveal to John that she... (full context)
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As she pulls on her stockings, Irene swears to herself not to indulge Clare. Irene’s husband Brian walks into the room, jokingly... (full context)
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Irene finishes getting ready while Brian reads the letter. She fixes her hair in the mirror... (full context)
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Brian looks up from the letter and asks if Clare is the same girl that Irene saw in Chicago last time she was there (clearly, Irene has told him about the... (full context)
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...dining room, where their housekeeper Zulena has laid out breakfast. As they eat, Brian tells Irene that she misunderstood his question as an aggressive one, and explains that he just wanted... (full context)
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...a humorous side, since they all knew what was going on and John didn’t, but Irene says she “can’t see it.” She tells Brian she will write to Clare that day... (full context)
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Irene then expresses surprise that Clare wants to spend time with her at all, given John’s... (full context)
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Zulena brings them toast, and Irene comments on the ambiguous attitude that the black community has toward “passing.” She suggests that... (full context)
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Irene changes the subject, asking Brian if he would do her a favor and take her... (full context)
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As Brian puts his hat on in the hall, Irene thinks that Brian’s moodiness about his job is unfair, because he seems to be blaming... (full context)
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Irene worries briefly that she actually does not know Brian very well, but then backtracks, assuring... (full context)
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In the car, as Brian drives, Irene tells Brian she has been wanting to talk to him about something. Brian prompts Irene... (full context)
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Brian asks Irene if she means ideas about sex, and Irene tells him yes, that Junior has picked... (full context)
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Irene does not respond, and when they reach the print shop, she gets out and slams... (full context)
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Irene, alone, ponders how she will pin Brian down. Her plan had been to suggest sending... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 2
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Five days after Irene has received Clare’s second letter, she still has not replied. Irene notices that Clare has... (full context)
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Irene later decides that it is better anyway to not answer Clare’s letter, thinking that Clare... (full context)
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The narrative fast-forwards to the middle of October. It is cold, and Irene is burning a fire in her room. Her boys, Junior and Ted, play upstairs. Irene... (full context)
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Since her first attempt to pacify Brian with the botched boarding school trip offer, Irene has become depressed. She worries that Brian will suddenly decide it is not worth it... (full context)
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Irene stops and listens to Zulena answering the door, walking up the steps, and then knocking... (full context)
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Clare enters the room without knocking and kisses Irene on the head. Irene feels a sudden rush of affection for her, reaches out to... (full context)
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Irene tells Clare that she did not respond because she does not think Clare should risk... (full context)
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Clare becomes irritated, and tells Irene emphatically that she does not care about being safe. Irene sits down and tells Clare... (full context)
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Irene puts out her cigarette, feeling resentful, but her voice sounds pitying as she expresses sympathy... (full context)
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Irene tells Clare that no one is completely safe, happy, or free, and Clare points out... (full context)
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Zulena appears in the doorway and tells Irene that the telephone is for her, and that Hugh Wentworth is on the other end.... (full context)
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Clare asks why they come, and Irene says that some come for the reason Clare is there (to “see Negros”) while others... (full context)
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...becomes upset and curses John, saying that she expects she will kill him one day. Irene dryly says that there’s still capital punishment, and reminds Clare that she is mostly to... (full context)
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Irene then invites Clare to meet her sons, and together they go upstairs. Clare stands in... (full context)
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Clare leaves, and Brian calls Irene to tell her he will be home late. Irene is angry that she gave into... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 3
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The narrator opens this section by saying that Irene’s memories of the dance afterward seem unimportant to her. From this frame of retrospect, the... (full context)
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The next memory is Irene coming downstairs just before the dance to find Clare standing in the living room with... (full context)
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In the car, Clare expresses her excitement, which annoys Irene. Once they are at the dance, Irene watches Clare dance with both white and black... (full context)
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Irene turns to Hugh and recites a nursery rhyme that speaks to the diversity of the... (full context)
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...white women in the room, including his own wife, Bianca, are dancing with black men. Irene counters that it must be because black men are better dancers than white men. Hugh... (full context)
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Irene says that she does not find Ralph especially handsome, and argues that she thinks the... (full context)
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...is a perfect example, implying that she might not be as white as she appears. Irene laughs and tells Hugh that he is clever, and asks what he thinks. Hugh says... (full context)
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Irene tells Hugh about a woman, Dorothy Thompkins, that she met several times before realizing she... (full context)
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At the end of the dance, Brian offers to drop Irene off first and then take Clare home. Irene tells him he does not have to... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 4
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Though the dance does not stand out in many respects in Irene’s mind, it does mark the beginning of her friendship with Clare. After the dance, Clare... (full context)
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Still, Irene does not request that Clare stop coming. Brian seems to tolerate Clare with amusement, and... (full context)
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Clare sometimes attends social events with Irene and Brian, and occasionally goes with Brian alone if Irene is busy. Clare dines at... (full context)
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...The idea of going back upsets Clare, but she feels there is no way out. Irene tries to pacify Clare, reminding her that she will be happy to see Margery after... (full context)
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Clare changes her tone and agrees with Irene, apologizing for poking fun at her. Clare reaches out and squeezes Irene’s hand, and tells... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 1
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The narrator begins this section by describing the unseasonably warm December weather. Irene is on her way home, wishing that the season were colder, so that it would... (full context)
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Irene asks Zulena and Sadie if there is anything to be done before guests arrive for... (full context)
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Irene naps, exhausted from many sleepless nights of worrying. She wakes up to Brian standing next... (full context)
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Irene objects to and is surprised by Brian’s comment. Brian says that Hugh has a godly... (full context)
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Irene lays out the clothes she is going to wear and then sits at her dressing... (full context)
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Irene says no, but that she’s intelligent enough “in a purely feminine way.” Brian sees this... (full context)
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After a moment of silence, Brian admits to having invited Clare to the party. Irene is furious, and as she speaks, her voice has a strange edge to it. She... (full context)
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Irene completely changes her tune and tells Brian she is glad that Clare is coming. Brian... (full context)
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Irene heads downstairs, where she happily busies herself with entertaining the tea guests so she does... (full context)
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Irene thinks this is like so many other parties she has hosted, but also so unlike... (full context)
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Instead, Irene makes small talk with Felise Freeland. Felise notes that Irene looks strained, and asks what... (full context)
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Felise, before leaving her, comments that Clare looks stunning. Irene agrees, and takes in Clare’s fine clothes. Irene spots Hugh across the room near the... (full context)
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Irene makes social plans with the party guests, but feels apathetic and tired. She eavesdrops on... (full context)
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Irene thinks again about the possibility that Brian and Clare are sleeping together, and wonders what... (full context)
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Irene, enraged at this thought, drops her teacup (whether intentionally or unintentionally it is unclear). It... (full context)
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Irene says that, instead, she broke the cup on purpose because she thinks it is ugly.... (full context)
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Irene makes small talk with Clare, which the narrator tells using only conversation fragments spoken by... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 2
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Although in the previous section Irene thinks that she can live with Brian and Clare’s (unsubstantiated) affair, and it does not... (full context)
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Still, Irene remembers, she has no real evidence of this alleged affair, only suspicion. Irene tries to... (full context)
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Christmas comes and goes, and Irene is happy that it was so busy, because it kept her from thinking too much... (full context)
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Irene tells herself that Brian’s behavior is not necessarily because of Clare, but she wishes it... (full context)
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Irene entertains the idea of telling John that Clare is black in order to get Clare... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 3
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The next day, coincidentally, Irene runs into John on the street. It is a cold day and Irene is with... (full context)
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Felise dryly asks Irene if she has been passing, and says that her presence revealed Irene’s secret. Irene solemnly... (full context)
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Felise becomes distracted by a coat she admires. Meanwhile, Irene thinks about the fact that, if she had introduced John to Felise, John might realize... (full context)
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Irene wonders if she should tell Clare that she has run into John, since, although Irene... (full context)
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Still, Irene plans to tell Brian about running into John. But that evening, each time she has... (full context)
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Irene hears the door open downstairs and knows Brian has gone out. She feels like she... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 4
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The next day, Irene eats breakfast with Brian in near silence. Then she watches the snow falling out the... (full context)
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After a slow day, Brian, Irene, and their children eat dinner together. Brian tells Irene about a lynching he read about... (full context)
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...Ted asks why they hate black people, Brian explains that they are afraid of them. Irene tries to cut Brian off, and Brian tells Ted that he will tell him about... (full context)
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Once the boys have gone back upstairs, Irene tells Brian that she wishes he would not talk about lynching in front of Ted... (full context)
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Brian, however, thinks this is impossible. He reminds Irene of how they tried to keep their children from learning the word “nigger,” and then... (full context)
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Irene asks rhetorically if it is stupid to want her children to be happy. Brian asserts... (full context)
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Irene sits shivering alone in the dining room, wondering what Brian meant when he said “don’t... (full context)
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Clare arrives at the house, looking beautiful, while Irene is still getting dressed. Clare kisses Irene on the shoulder and Irene shrinks away from... (full context)
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Irene, feeling guilty, covers her eyes with her hand so she does not have to look... (full context)
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Irene is determined not to reveal her thoughts and worries to Clare. She tells Clare to... (full context)
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At this point, Irene acknowledges that she is completely certain that Clare and Brian are having an affair, and... (full context)
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Irene feels relieved to have realized this, and returns to plotting how she can achieve that... (full context)
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Regardless, though, Irene is resolved that she will make sure Brian stays with her, despite the fact that... (full context)
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After a page break, Brian, Clare, and Irene are arriving at the party at the Freelands’. Brian asks Clare if she has ever... (full context)
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Clare asks why Felise lives on the sixth floor, and Irene responds that Felise says it discourages visitors. They discuss Felise’s choice and the apartment’s garden... (full context)
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...describing how Dave and Felise are excellent hosts, Brian is witty (even biting, according to Irene), and Ralph Hazelton is an excellent conversationalist. Irene, however, is not happy. Someone asks Irene... (full context)
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Irene asks if she can open a window, because the room is hot. She does so.... (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 not there. John... (full context)
Passing, Black Identity, and Race Theme Icon
Sex, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Clare stands by the window, surprisingly composed and smiling slightly. Her smile infuriates Irene, who runs across the room and touches Clare’s arm. She desperately thinks that Clare cannot... (full context)
Passing, Black Identity, and Race Theme Icon
Everyone except Irene rushes downstairs. Irene sits down and processes the fact that Clare has fallen out the... (full context)
Sex, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Irene wonders if she should have stayed so long upstairs, or if she should rejoin the... (full context)
Beauty and Race Theme Icon
Sex, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Irene wonders what she will say once she gets to the bottom, and worries she will... (full context)
Sex, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Dave announces that Irene is there, and says that they had all concluded that she had fainted. Felise leans... (full context)