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When Clare's husband John goes on a rampage about his negative feelings regarding African-American people being in his family, he makes many racist remarks. Irene and Gertrude kept Clare's "passing" a secret, and in doing so felt the effects of oppression. This example of racism connects to the stories' main them of oppression because Irene and Gertrude felt that they had to conceal their true identities in order to be accepted.
After the dispute with John, Irene reflects on this event and questions the way she acted. Irene wonders why she did not defend her race, and questions why she let herself feel the effects of the oppression of racism. Racism connects to the main theme of oppression because it caused the main character to go against her genuine identity by forcing herself to not speak her mind.
Why didn't I defend my race?
In a conversation with Clare, Irene feels the need to defend her decision to be a housewife. Although Irene is completely happy and confident with her choice, Clare believes that "children aren't everything." This connects to the main theme of oppression because Clare fights against the oppression of women. Clare does not want to serve the stereotypical purpose of women, which is to only be a wife and mother rather than a financial provider with a career.
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