Passing | Study Guide

Nella Larsen

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Course Hero. "Passing Study Guide." April 12, 2019. Accessed July 6, 2020.


Course Hero, "Passing Study Guide," April 12, 2019, accessed July 6, 2020,



Nella Larsen

Year Published





Drama, Women's Studies

Perspective and Narrator

The novel Passing is narrated using a third-person limited point of view, focusing on the thoughts and experiences of the main character Irene Redfield. This point of view confines readers to Irene's perspective, which grows increasingly paranoid and unreliable as her sense of individual, marital, and racial security is threatened.


The novel Passing is narrated in the past tense, looking back in time after the deadly events of the final chapter.

About the Title

The title Passing refers to the practice of light-skinned blacks, generally of mixed racial background, passing as white as a means of escaping discrimination and obtaining social power or opportunity.


This study guide for Nella Larsen's Passing offers summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text. Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs.

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