Aped

Project 2 Glossary Annotation:

  • Aped (verb) – to copy closely but often clumsily and ineptly

Source – https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ape

From: “Quicksand” by Nella Larsen, Chapter 9 Page 80

“She hated white people with a deep and burning hatred, with the kind of hatred which, finding itself held insufficiently numerous groups, was capable someday, on some great provocation, of bursting into dangerously malignant flames. But she aped their clothes, their manners, and their gracious ways of living. While proclaiming loudly the undiluted good of all things Negro, she yet disliked the songs, the dances, and the softly blurred speech of the race. Toward these things, she showed only a disdainful contempt, tinged sometimes with a faint amusement. Like the despised people of the white race, she preferred Pavlova to Florence Mills, John McCormack to Taylor Gordon, Walter Hampden to Paul Robeson.”

In this passage, the author depicts Helga as someone who would adapt to a better lifestyle to be accepted by the society, but keep her traditional values. Even though Helga hates white people, she follows their fashion and lifestyle. Helga also prefers the music that the white people like. This shows that Helga is conflicted between the African-American culture and the lifestyle of white people.

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