Project # 2
Dear Hathi Trust,
Helga Crane was always moving from one place to another throughout her whole life, in hope to search for satisfaction, and happiness. While reading the novel “Quicksand” Helga Crane migration to find her satisfaction, and happiness, is a symbolic to the Great Migration of six million African American during the 1916-1970. In the novel Helga move from Naxos to Chicago’s to New York, and even when she was in Copenhagen she was still unsatisfied. There were many reason to her unsatisfaction living in these places.
While living in Naxos Helga find herself feeling so much anger and resentment, she hated the rules, and the school system, and she even said the Naxos is evil. Naxos is located in the south which can be refer to the Great Migration where most African American lived the south and migrated to the north due to economic problem, and segregation. Helga decided to leave Naxos she felt like it had grown into a machine. On page 9, Helga thoughts on Naxos was “It was now a show place in the black belt, exemplification of the white rain’s magnanimity, refutation of the black man’s inefficiency” which shows a huge sign of racism. In Naxos Helga felt powerless, she wanted a voice to speak out for her people, and even so the teacher or student wouldn’t dare to go against the naxos rules.
Helga decided to leave Naxos, and headed to Chicago and find work. On her trip to Chicago Helga had to travels by segregated train, and had to pay more than she need to just to have her privacy. This just show how poorly a biracial women like Helga was treated during the 1920. Even in Chicago it was hard for a mix race women like Helga to find a paying jobs. Although Chicago and New York Helga got to associate with middle class blacks, Helga still felt like she was not adopting the culture there. Goes to show that no matter where she went, she was always rejected by people and didn’t feel like she doesn’t belong there. These places did not give Helga satisfaction and the happiness she was searching for.
Migration plays a big part in the novel, as helga and many African American had migrated in search for a better life. On page 5, of the novel “Quicksand” written by Nella Larsen quoted “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 statement was made by the “holy white man of god to the black folks” he’s claiming that Naxos is a place where African American are being treated well. According to my research on the great migration, six million African American living in the rural south, migrated to the city of the north. The migration was due to the unsatisfactory economic opportunities for jobs, and harsh segregation law.
Therefore the statement about the negro being well treated in naxos is not true at all. Naxos is a place where the negros would have to follow the rule of the whites, or get mistreated, this place is full of racism. According to the research on the Great Migration quoted “Southern blacks were forced to make their living working the land due to black codes and the sharecropping system, which offered little in the way of economic opportunity, especially after a boll weevil epidemic in 1898 caused massive crop damage across the South.” shows how poorly the African American were treated in the south.
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