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(p.194) Conclusion
Projections of Passing
N. Megan Kelley
University Press of Mississippi

This concluding chapter summarizes the book's main themes relating to the many different ways that Hollywood films represented passing between 1947 and 1960, thus casting light on the contradictory discourses about identity that coexisted in postwar American culture. The book has shown how Hollywood embraced the psychoanalytic turn and how representations of passing related to discourse about authenticity and identity went beyond issues of race or racial indeterminacy. Aliens passing as humans, communists passing as Americans, men passing as women and vice versa, or homosexuals passing as heterosexuals were all raised as possible scenarios that sparked a decade of anxiety and fear. The book has brought to the fore broader cultural anxieties about the instability and fragility of categories of race, gender, class, and sexuality—all of which were epitomized by Langston Hughes in his 1952 short story collection Laughing to Keep from Crying.

Keywords:   passing, Hollywood films, identity, postwar American culture, authenticity, race, anxiety, gender, sexuality, Langston Hughes

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