What We Lose Themes & Motifs

Clemmons, Zinzi
This Study Guide consists of approximately 45 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of What We Lose.
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Skin Color

Through Thandi's struggles with her identity, the novel explores the dynamics of color and race in America, and how someone with a unique identity like her can feel adrift. Thandi's background informs how she is viewed by the world, and how she perceives her own flimsy sense of self. One the one hand, she is African-America, and her father passes down the legacy of slavery in America to her. However, her mother brings another perspective to the table as a light-skinned, "coloured," South African woman. Despite technically being a first-generation African-American, as her mother is a native African who immigrated to America, Thandi cannot use the traditional "African-American" or "Black American" labels to define herself in the way that someone like Aminah can. The lack of clear identity creates an internal turmoil that is permanent, and one that cannot be satisfied even once Thandi becomes...

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This section contains 2,219 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the What We Lose Study Guide
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