In our discussions of Nella Larsen’s Quicksand, I tried to describe the four main episodes of the novel (Naxos, Harlem, Copenhagen, and Alabama) as representing four different ideologies or configurations of black female identity available to Helga in the 1920s. In other words, each setting offers Helga a different set of terms to make sense of her relation to race and self. (Of course, don’t forget, Helga also provokes the contradictions endemic to each ideology or configuration.)
For this assignment, let’s return to the Duke Ellington video of “Take the A Train” and its representation of the “New Negro.”
Your goal in the assignment is to explain how the video “fits” with two of Larsen’s locations. Think about it this way: how does the video line up with the definitions of blackness offered by Naxos and/or Harlem and/or Copenhagen and/or Alabama? Equally,what aspects of the video – – like perhaps Helga herself – – elude or contradict these definitions and ideologies?
You should be able to accomplish this task in two, double-spaced, typed pages. Use quotations from the novel to develop your argument.
Due: Tuesday, December 6.