Historically, the concept of passing has been a site of exploration and engagement with literature and feminist critical race theory. Defined in the most fundamental terms, passing is appearing as something you are not. Although this term has its historical roots in relation to race, other theorists have adopted and applied it to gender, sexuality, and class. I will explore the topic in four literary texts, which I have divided into two separate chapters: race/class and gender/sexuality. These follow a chapter of personal vignettes depicting my experience of passing, and a chapter analyzing the theoretical works employed as a lens in the examination of the aforementioned novels. The structure of the chapters maps the various ways in which passing impacts Western constructions of the identities of race, gender, sexuality, and class. This exploration is used to further the discourse surrounding the performance and visibility of identity in experience and in literary representation.

Type of Work

Thesis - Limited Access

Department or Program

Literature and Creative Writing, Women's Studies


Hamilton College


Bachelor of Arts

Date of Graduation



Access to this thesis is limited to Hamilton College, Clinton, NY.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
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