Tag Archives: Quicksand


Lure, verb: to draw with a hint of pleasure or gain.

Source: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lure

We came across this word in the beginning of chapter 18 of Quicksand. It’s used to describe Helga’s new found ability to attract attention using her beauty. The context of the sentence describes it as a “deliberate lure,” which could be read as a flirty demeanor.

“And Helga, since her return, was more than ever popular at parties. Her courageous clothes attracted attention, and her deliberate lure—as Olsen had called it—held it. Her life in Copenhagen had taught her to expect and accept admiration as her due.”



refuse to accept or be associated with. Reject.

source: dictionary.com

word is found in chapter 14 “Quicksand”

”In America Negroes sometimes talked loudly of this, but in their hearts they repudiated it.”

here Helga Crane is justifying her new life was now pleasing to her as it satisfied her “self-importance”, but to her the Negroes embrace the idea of being themselves on the surface not within their hearts as she believed they wanted to be more like the “whites” rather than black.



having little or no money

source: dictionary.com

found in chapter 13 “Quicksand”

”with that sensation of lavish contentment and well-being enjoyed only by impecunious sybarites waking in the houses of the rich”

This was perhaps describing Helga her self as the one who is not quite affluent  but still Indulges in luxuries of the rich.


Tonic, noun: one that invigorates, restores, refreshes, or stimulates; medicinal

Source: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tonic

We read this word in chapter 9 of Quicksand. Helga uses it in the context of needing something to cure her malaise with New York and how she begins to hate it.

“As the days multiplied, her need of something, something vaguely familiar, but which she could not put a name to and hold for definite examination, became almost intolerable. She went through moments of overwhelming anguish. She felt shut in, trapped. “Perhaps I’m tired, need a tonic or something,” she reflected. So she consulted a physician, who, after a long, solemn examination, said that there was nothing wrong, nothing at all. “A change of scene, perhaps for a week or so, or a few days away from work,” would put her straight most likely.”


Adroit, adjective: having or showing skill, cleverness, or resourcefulness in handling situations.

Source: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/adroit

We saw the adverb form of this word (adroitly) about halfway through chapter 7 of Quicksand. It was used to describe how Ms. Hayes-Rore changed subjects during a conversation in a smooth way during their train ride from Chicago to New York.

“The girl wished to hide her turbulent feeling and to appear indifferent to Mrs. Hayes-Rore’s opinion of her story. The woman felt that the story, dealing as it did with race intermingling and possibly adultery, was beyond definite discussion. For among black people, as among white people, it is tacitly understood that these things are not mentioned—and therefore they do not exist. Sliding adroitly out from under the precarious subject to a safer, more decent one, Mrs. Hayes-Rore asked Helga what she was thinking of doing when she got back to Chicago.”

Quicksand and Project #2

roman a clef: look this up to understand more about biography read into fiction

Annotation: a separate document that can illuminate the novel in some way

Sources for Project #2: use at least 3 sources as you write your research annotation

Add a bibliography: in MLA format, we call it a Works Cited list

2 glossary annotations: like the ones you do for class already, but chosen wisely

Sample: I will link us to samples for a different class using a different text.

Copenhagen: racially homogeneous community, so what does this mean for Helga?

Helga’s 4 suitors

  1. James Vayle
  2. Dr. Anderson
  3. Axel Olsen
  4. Reverend Mr. Pleasant Green
  5. Or: what does Helga say about marriage?

Find a passage that represents their relationship, discuss it, and be prepared to share it with the class.