For Birdie, Cole is the mirror in which she can see her own blackness. One night Birdie watches her father and his girlfriend drive away with Cole-they have gone to Brazil, she will later learn, where her father hopes for a racial equality he will never find in the States. The next morning-in the belief that the Feds are after them-Birdie and her mother leave everything behind: their house and possessions, their friends, and-most disturbing of all-their identity. Passing as the daughter and wife of a deceased Jewish professor, Birdie and her mother finally make their home in New Hampshire.
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For Birdie, Cole is the mirror in which she can see her own blackness. One night Birdie watches her father and his girlfriend drive away with Cole-they have gone to Brazil, she will later learn, where her father hopes for a racial equality he will never find in the States.
The next morning-in the belief that the Feds are after them-Birdie and her mother leave everything behind: their house and possessions, their friends, and-most disturbing of all-their identity. Passing as the daughter and wife of a deceased Jewish professor, Birdie and her mother finally make their home in New Hampshire. Desperate to find Cole, yet afraid of betraying her mother and herself to some unknown danger, Birdie must learn to navigate the white world-so that when she sets off in search of her sister, she is ready for what she will find.
The daughter of a black father and a white mother, both writers and activists in the Civil Rights Movement, Danzy Senna grew up in Boston and attended Stanford University.
She holds an M. She lives in New York City. Share: Share on Facebook. Add to Cart. One day I was here, the next I was gone. Is her ability to disappear a blessing or a curse? When is she not passing? Why does Elemeno continue to be so important to Birdie throughout the novel? In what ways is the tension between Sandy and Cole typical of that between any mother and daughter, and in what ways is it specific to an interracial family?
Does Sandy treat her two daughters differently based on their appearances? Do you think he loves Birdie? Who internalizes his vision of America more? Which sister seems to have become more like Deck, and which more like Sandy? Officially, Birdie has no name.
Why does their relationship eventually sour? Do you believe they were torn apart because of external pressures, or internal ones? Do you think they would have stayed together had they lived in a less racially divided city or in another country altogether? By the end of the novel, does Birdie believe that her parents really loved each other?
Do you believe that they did? How do her sexual experiences with Alexis compare to her later sexual experiences with Nicholas in New Hampshire? Redbone lurks in the background of the novel as a sinister figure. Why does he initially take such an interest in Birdie? Why does he take her photograph in the playground? Do you believe he is in part responsible for the troubles that befall the family? What parts of herself does she see mirrored in Cole?
What are the potential advantages and disadvantages to being a chameleon? What does she find out? Does she become Jesse Goldman, or is she able to remain Birdie in disguise?
Do they succeed in helping her remember Cole and Deck? What or who gives Birdie the courage to finally leave New Hampshire? What motivated her to take up a life of political activism? What has she sacrificed in the process? It was as if my father and Dot had arisen out of thin air. Does what we learn about ourselves through oral or written histories give us a different understanding of ourselves? Is Birdie a canary in the coal mine? What do you imagine her fate will be? Learn More About Caucasia print.
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Reading Guide. Nov 06, Minutes Buy. Birdie and Cole are the daughters of a black father and a white mother, intellectuals and activists in the Civil Rights Movement in s Boston. The sisters are so close that they speak their own language, yet Birdie, with her light skin and straight hair, is often mistaken for white, while Cole is dark enough to fit in with the other kids at school.
Caucasia Reader’s Guide
Caucasia is the first novel written by American author, Danzy Senna. It is the coming-of-age story of two multiracial girls, Birdie Lee and her sister Cole, who have a Caucasian mother and an African American father. The novel is set in Boston, Massachusetts, during the turbulent mids. Much of the novel centers around the theme of racial passing. Senna upends the traditional " tragic mulatto " story line by exploring Birdie's desire to be accepted as African American, although she appears to be Caucasian. Growing up on the run, and fearful her true identity could endanger her mother's life, Birdie seeks to understand who she is and how she fits into the world. Caucasia is set in Boston, Massachusetts.
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