As Larsen’s Quicksand continues, the plot reveals a character that can’t seem to find true happiness for more than a short period of time. Helga always seems to find something that makes her unhappy no matter how many new people or new places she experiences. It seems as though she runs to escape the past, but no matter how hard she tries to run, she eventually faces the same problems no matter where she goes. As Helga grows a sort of hatred towards New York, she moves on to live with her Aunt Katrina in Denmark.
It also seems as though maybe she’s running from New York, or her love of Dr. Anderson. Almost everybody is of white color in Denmark, but she finds it is nothing like America, and people there treat her as something of admiration and of show. This is completely different than the states, and she is spoiled by her aunt and is encouraged to be herself. As her aunt suggests, “You must have bright things to set off the color of your lovely brown skin. Striking things, exotic things. You must make an impression. (Larsen 62) This was a major factor of her new found happiness, Helga never felt as though she could express herself or be the center of attention without being scrutinized. At first to Helga it seems like there is no racial problems in Denmark. Although she is stared at almost always, Helga isn’t discriminated against, or treated like a “beggar” because of her skin color.
This new life is pure happiness at first, until she starts to analyze things and feels like maybe she is treated differently because of color. She in a way creates her a racial problem herself, by not wanting to be surrounded with people not of her color. As she attended parties, the theater, the opera, and mingled with people on the streets, meeting only pale serious faces when she longed for brown laughing ones. ” (Larsen 87) She misses the people of her color, and will not marry a white man, because of her past, and what happened between her parents. She then finds Anne is marrying Dr. Anderson, and somehow all her thoughts turn to him, and make her miss people of her kind. She can’t figure out why she is in love with him, and why something this is triggering all this unhappiness. She decides to take a trip to America, to prove to herself there is nothing there for her.