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Margery is Clare and John Bellew’s daughter. She is a light-skinned young girl who attends school in Switzerland. Larsen never introduces Margery to the reader, but the other characters discuss her frequently. Margery seems to not be a very big part of Clare’s life, but she is referenced often as one of the reasons that Clare cannot leave John.

Margery Quotes in Passing

The Passing quotes below are all either spoken by Margery or refer to Margery. 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 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.


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Margery Character Timeline in Passing

The timeline below shows where the character Margery appears in Passing. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1, Chapter 2
Passing, Black Identity, and Race Theme Icon
Motherhood, Security, and Freedom Theme Icon
...then invites her to tea, where Irene could meet both her husband and her daughter, Margery. Irene declines again, saying she is busy. (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 3
Passing, Black Identity, and Race Theme Icon
...Clare mentions she is sorry that Irene won’t be able to meet her daughter, because Margery is staying with friends, but says that her husband John will be back soon. (full context)
Passing, Black Identity, and Race Theme Icon
Beauty and Race Theme Icon
...will not have any more 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... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 2
Passing, Black Identity, and Race Theme Icon
Motherhood, Security, and Freedom Theme Icon
...the more reason to take risks. Irene, however, tells Clare to think of her daughter Margery. This surprises Clare, who then says that she thinks motherhood is “the cruelest thing in... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 4
Motherhood, Security, and Freedom Theme Icon
Humor Theme Icon
Margery, meanwhile, is already back in Switzerland for school, and Clare and John plan on returning... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 2
Motherhood, Security, and Freedom Theme Icon, and hopes something will make that day come sooner—even, she thinks, if it involves Margery getting sick or dying, or John discovering Clare’s black ancestry. (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 4
Passing, Black Identity, and Race Theme Icon
Motherhood, Security, and Freedom Theme Icon
Sex, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
...that she would move to Harlem to live. Irene asks what she would do about Margery, and Clare responds that if it weren’t for Margery, she would have left John already.... (full context)
Motherhood, Security, and Freedom Theme Icon
Sex, Sexuality, and Jealousy Theme Icon
...nothing to get what she wants, and thinks that Clare will give up anything (money, Margery) to get Brian. Irene decides she must not tell Clare or Brian about meeting John,... (full context)