The Vanishing Half, amplifies the trope of the “tragic mulatto” (a self-loathing mixed-race American) by sharing the dilemma of “passing” with identical twin characters, Stella and Desiree.
In 1950s America the teenagers disappear from Mallard, a fictional small, racially homogeneous and snobbish “coloured” town in Louisiana, and embark on lives marked by opposing trajectories.The Vanishing Half cleverly constructed to both match and critique the conservativism of the 1950s and 60s: the attenuated tone chimes with the restrained language and style of the period. Ultimately, it’s a quietly damning account of acquiescing to an imitation of life and the delusion of the American dream.
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