Aesthetic detail in the works of Nella Larsen
Brown, Rebecca Elizabeth
Master of Arts
In the novellas Quicksand and Passing, Nella Larsen uses the often maligned detail to explore issues of gender, race, and sexuality. Female body parts, women's clothing, and skin color are particularly reiterated and fetishized. These evocative descriptions function symbolically and at times act as a counternarrative. Larsen's attempts to create a personal aesthetic are sometimes undercut by the text's alliance with hegemonic standards of beauty and commodification.