University of New Hampshire
Mentor: Dr. Lester A. Fisher - Professor of English
A Study in the Dynamics of Color, Gender, and Class Within the Fiction and Cultural Context of the Harlem Renaissance.
While African-American men were trying to find their role in a white dominated society, women were on the fringes, wondering what their role was to be. The writing done by women at that time reflects this search for identity. Two books by Nella Larsen, Quicksand and Passing, explore the repression of women, but are able to offer no solutions. Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston, is written during the end of the period. It is able to offer solutions to the problems the first two novels raise, as the protagonist finds her role as a woman in relation to her community.
The Harlem Renaissance is generally considered to have occurred from about 1919-1937. It is a time period of much intellectual activity, appearing in the forms of literature and art. The time period also brought a unique set of problems with it. There is a spit between ideas that constituted the Old Negro, under the leadership of Booker T. Washington and the New Negro, under the leadership of WEB DuBois. The problem is inherently a split between the classes, between the common man and the well-educated.