For Wednesday’s class

Congratulations on completing the midterm exam! We’re moving ahead with work for Project #1 and with our next unit of literature. For Wednesday’s class, please do the following:

1-prepare as final a version of Part 1 and Part 2 of Project #1 as possible, and bring your work to Wednesday’s class. We will devote some time to peer review. If you have not already had your required meeting with me, please schedule one as soon as possible.

2-be sure to have bought/borrowed/rented a copy of The Complete Fiction of Nella Larsen, and read Chapter 1 of Quicksand, pp 29-44. Bring your copy of the book to class on Wednesday.

3-respond to this post by 10am Wednesday with a comment (100-150 words) about what stands out to you in the first chapter about the protagonist or about the world she inhabits. Include a relevant quotation from Chapter 1.

7 thoughts on “For Wednesday’s class

  1. Madycyn

    So reading chapter one gives you a lot of detail into her personality and what type of person she is. I got a very distant lonely vibe from reading this because she wants to be alone in that room. She carries her self a certain way that isn’t so loud/ confident. What stood out to me what that although She stands out to the white community and is neglected in the black community Vice versa that although shes not accepted it seems like she’s not trying to be or got tired of doing so because she wants this loneliness. Maybe she wants to figure everything out by herself and she doesn’t know how.

  2. Duane

    What stood out to me in the first chapter about Helga Crane is her mindset and how the narrator sets the scene for Crane’s description. The way how the narrator describes the scene before getting into her mindset and describes her is done in a way that I believe matches her view of things around her. Her sitting at the table alone and with the light solely on her shows how she is always within her own thoughts while even aware of what’s around her. “She could neither conform nor be happy in her unconformity.” (pg. 42). This tells me that not only can she not agree with the rules and things happening around her but she can not even find happiness with her decisions of what not to be happy about. This also relates to the scene the narrator sets because the narrator can have her in complete darkness which can mean that she is happy in her unconformity and has accepted it (dark being her conformity) but chooses not to. The light shining on her can mean that she is constantly reminding herself that she is alone and believes that she wants to be (but not fully) in her own world.

  3. Kevin Palomeque

    What stood out to me in Chapter 1 of “Quicksand” by Nella Larsen, was the world that the protagonist, Helga Crane inhabits. Helga recalls attending a church sermon led by a white preacher. It is there that the preacher begins to say deplorable things.
    “This was, he had told them with obvious sectional pride, the finest school for Negroes anywhere in the country, north or south; in fact, it was better even than a great many schools for white children. And he had dared any Northerner to come south and after looking upon this great institution to say that the Southerner mistreated the Negro.”.
    This stood out to me because of how someone could be so brazen with their ignorant remarks.


    In Chapter one of Nella Larsen’s Quicksand , Helga a teacher at the all black school Naxos, seems very empathetic towards her students, from the reading we get the understanding that when started teaching she had enjoyed it at first but she gradually grew to hate it for now ” she thought , it was no longer a school but a machine that exemplified the white man’s magnanimity, and refuted the black man’s inefficiency”. In the later part of chapter 2 (page 13) the narrator expressing Helga’s disgust and frustration with Naxos as she told Margaret that she wont be going to class at all… “she could no longer abide being connected with a place of shame, lies, hypocrisy, cruelty, servility, and snobbishness. she declared ” it ought to be shut down by law.” These conditions led Helga to the decision to leave Naxos and venture out to perhaps find some justification for her life or belongingness.

  5. Linh Ngo

    After reading chapter one of Nella Larsen’s Quicksand, Helga Crane was described to be elegant. In theis chapter it seem to be taken place at her home in the living room. She felt relax and the stress from her mind was gone at that moment. When she sitting in her living room at her home she felt protected by all the gossiping, that she deals with at her work place. Helga Crane worked in the southern Naxos. She was angry and didn’t like the way how strictly the education system were for the Negros. She was disturbed and disgusted that the school attempted to turn black children into white. She was so disturbed by that and couldn’t deal with it anymore and decided she must leave Naxos. The narrator also gave an in depth distribution of how Helga Crane physical appearance looks like, to me she seem to be a beauty and very feminist.

  6. Christ.JB

    Helga Crane is a young woman who possesses both intelligence and beauty. She seems to me like someone very capable of achieving her aims no matter what they may be. But like all of us in some capacity, she is being held back from reaching her potential. This is the dilemma in which she faced “…there would be no race problem, because Naxos Negros knew what was expected of them. They had good sense and they had good taste. He spoke of his great admiration for the Negro race, no other race in so short a time had made so much progress, but he had urgently besought them to know when and where to stop” The dilemma that Helga Crane is facing in the first chapter is that she is not satisfied with herself and her life. She is looking to gain more. As evidenced “Most of her earnings had gone into clothes, into books, into the furnishing of the room which held her. All her life Helga Crane had loved and longed for nice things. Indeed, it was this carving, urge for beauty…” What stood out to me in the first chapter is Helga Crane’s seems to have all the reasons to be content, yet she is not. We know she has lavish taste but is it that Helga Crane wants. Maybe we will find out in the next chapter.


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