Gordon Parks

Gordon Park African American Housewife

Irene and Clare offer two different modes of motherhood,  Irene focuses to provide love and happiness towards her children and make sure that both she and her boys are secure in life. Clare, on the other hand, is also in her marriage for financial security, but she doesn’t care for motherhood as much as Irene. Being a mother for Clare is less appealing to her and she doesn’t discuss her child as much as Irene does. An example of a security that is exhibited through motherhood, is Irene protecting her sons from racism, such as being called racial slurs and protecting them from the extensive effect that racism can have on them. Clare’s role as a mother in protecting and securing her child is concealing her daughter’s identity so that her husband doesn’t find out that she is black. 

Another aspect of security for Clare was passing as a means to protect her child from the racism that she knew would destroy their livelihood if anyone found out. In Shirlee Taylor Haizlip’s article Passing, she states that the mother who was passing as white did it for the security of herself and her children so that they could have a better life in a segregated society. Haizlip also states that “passing was used to achieve acceptability and security by claiming membership for themselves and children”. Although in the novel was not seen as an affectionate mother towards her child, she secured her from a society that would deny her if they found out that she was half black. 

Source Citation

Haizlip, Shirlee Taylor. “Passing.” American Heritage, Feb.-Mar. 1995, p. 46+. Academic OneFile, Accessed 6 Dec. 2018.