A Contextualization of Nina Revoyr's Southland

2670 WordsApr 8, 201211 Pages
Sunshine and Noir in Historical Los Angeles: A Contextualization of Nina Revoyr’s Southland Nina Revoyr’s novel, Southland, provides a glimpse into the injustice, scandal, and struggle in Los Angeles from the 1940s to the 1990s due to its racial composition. The novel contains a unique cast of characters who, although often times interact with conflict, are forced to live side-by-side one another in their separate attempts to attain the American Dream. Southland takes its readers on a journey through a history full of trials and tribulations, with Los Angeles as its stage; throughout this story, the reader begins to understand that there was much more to this place than what was originally promised by the boosters. Revoyr makes it…show more content…
Hers the only face that wasn’t black or Latino. Out of place here. A stranger. A foreigner” (Revoyr, 56). This direct quote from the novel illustrates Jackie’s thought process as she immediately singles herself out as someone who simply does not belong because she is Asian. Then in another scene, when she goes to the Holiday Bowl for the first time, she is taken back by the ethnic mix of old people that were there. Revoyr writes, “She had seen gatherings of elderly Asian people; she’d seen gatherings of elderly blacks; but never before had she seen the two in one place. It was such a surprise to her, so visually inconceivable, that it was as if someone had taken footage of two senior citizens’ groups and then skillfully spliced them together” (Revoyr, 157). These are examples of modern-day noir, because of Jackie’s indirect expression of fear and shock in the presence of other ethnic groups. This illustrates the idea that not much has changed since the days of the 1965 riots – that even in modern day, there is an underlining racist perception that people still have. Another important thing to note is that throughout the novel, at the times when Jackie learns about how severe racial prejudice and violence was in the past, she is forced to take a step back in order to imagine what living in the past was like. It is true that the people who grew up during her parents’ and grandparents’ time had to endure such a high degree of fear and struggle; Jackie, on the other

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