First published in 1924, There Is Confusion was the first novel for poet and The Crisis editor Jessie Redmon Fauset. The novel examines the lives of some Black middle class (Fauset's specialty) residents of New York and Philadelphia trying to navigate the inevitable confusion present in their lives due to race and/ or gender. Fauset is not known for very colorful writing, which hasn't stopped me from being a fan of her work, but her stories are presented in a realistic fashion. Her characters are believable as they are flawed in various degrees. For example, Joanna Marshall is an average looking Black woman of some means thanks to her father's hardcore desire for success. The same tenacity was inherent in Joanna and somewhat to a fault. Joanna believes that not only should she be aiming for mega-success but also all Black people should be just as driven. Her life is consumed by it so much so that she believes success is more important than love and finds out the hard way that she may have been wrong. However, it's very important that Fauset wrote this female character as outside the box when it comes to goals and self reliance unlike her counterpart Maggie. Maggie's goal in life is typical for a woman of any color during the time: marriage. The real flaw with Maggie, though, is that she only partially realizes her abilities to be successful without depending on a man for financial security. Meanwhile, the major male character, Peter, struggles the most with simply wanting to be ambitious or just accepting the confusion that color brings and settling for mediocrity. He comes from a long line of "old Philadelphians" but now only their name survives their socioeconomic status as his father lost the sense of ambition held by his forefathers becoming shiftless and losing most of the family's material possessions. I found this novel very enjoyable and a good piece of social commentary on the state of the Northern middle class Black American of the 1920's.

African Diaspora
POC Reading

Thanks to the Classics Circuit for hosting this tour featuring the prolific works of the Harlem Renaissance.



02/22/2010 12:03pm

This looks like a winner. I'm adding it to my TBR list.

02/22/2010 2:45pm

This sounds really interesting. Of course, my library doesn't have it! I swear, most of the Black Classics I want to read I have to ILL.

02/22/2010 6:55pm

Sounds very interesting.

02/23/2010 6:50pm

I've been wanting to read Fauset! This does sound very good. Thanks for the review.

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