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Helga Crane starts her journey as a teacher at Naxos, an all black school. Helga herself is a mulatto. She is stuck between the white world and the black world.
Helga leaves and goes to Chicago, her hometown. There she is disowned by her Uncle Peter's new wife and has trouble adjusting. She finds a job with Mrs. Hayes-Rore and goes to New York City.
Helga meets Anne Grey and decides to live with her. She is brought back into the black community. But after a while she misses the white community and hates Anne on her opinions about race so she searches for "something" that she feels is missing.
Helga arrives in Denmark and is seen as an exotic beauty. She meets her aunt there and they buy her meretricious clothing and amazing jewelry. Axel, an artist, is interested in painting Helga. Later on Helga denies Axel's proposal and feels that people will judge her for having mixed children. She is once again unhappy and leaves.
Helga heads back to Harlem, since she is sick of being around whites. She passes up on all of her opportunities for happiness, with James and Dr. Anderson. One night she goes to a church and cries. She realizes she needs to be married so she married the preacher who walked her home, Reverend Green.
Helga was in search of that "something" that she felt she was missing. She wanted to belong somewhere and when she stayed in one place for too long she felt she didn't belong. She made many excuses and missed out on all of her opportunities for happiness and settles for Reverend Green. She becomes depressed and ruins her life forever.
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