Quicksand tells the story of mixed race Helga Crane. She struggles with her self-identity throughout this sweeping novella. Yet, she's not an example of the tragic mulatto. She often finds herself displeased with Blacks who are prominent representatives of the race and their sometimes superficial ways. She's intelligent and has refined tastes that seem to leave her feeling disconnected to other Blacks. However, an escape to Copenhagen, and subsequent proposal from a Danish artist, reveals her desire to be around the very people she fled. As the story goes on, we see Helga Crane sinking in the abyss of self discovery as it does not have a triumphant ending.
My heart just bled for Helga Crane. I initially thought it would be a tragic mulatto story similar to the companion tale, Passing. The tragedy didn't lie in lack of acceptance by both races or the desire to hide one's true identity, but instead it was the longing to be herself that was characteristically dual and not quite a perfect fit in neither a white world or a Black one. What I learned from Larsen's protagonist is to continue doing what I already do: forge my own path.
I urge everyone to read the grossly ignored Larsen.