The Importance Of Violence In Nina Revoyr's Novel

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In Nina Revoyr’s novel, potent anecdotes bring to life the brutality and historical significance regarding racial tensions in Southern California between the 1940s to the 1990s. Violence is a recurring element in the novel, and there is evidence that it is perpetuated by Anglo-Saxons. Each violent act in the novel has been a motive of white people using their status and skin color as a way to marginalize and violently disadvantage minorities. Southland integrates violence as a reflection of LA’s racial turmoil, whether it is police corruption, Japanese Internment, or even when African Americans speak to white women. The very first line of the novel introduces the death of Jackie Ishida’s grandfather, Frank Sakai. This is one of the many …show more content…
During Frank’s flashback, he saw that his father’s body had “swollen wrists…lacerations all over his cheeks and forehead” yet the only explanation for his death was “heart attack” from a disinterested guard (Revoyr, 114). Following was the gory death of his sister and her baby. Despite the fact that Frank’s family were hard-working, American citizens, they were nonetheless alienated and cruelly mistreated after Pearl Harbor. This is an example of Anglo-Saxon Americans demonizing minorities, while creating the image of yellow peril and distrust of the entire Japanese race. Revoyr’s narrative of the Japanese internment camps has the power to make her audience appalled at how white America unjustly treats their fellow citizens. Unfortunately, that was the true reality; the inhumane internment camps had purpose of protecting only white citizens. Instead of justice for Frank’s suffering family, he enrolls in the army to prove his loyalty to the US (Revoyr, 115). In order for minorities to avoid brutality, Revoyr indicates that they must assimilate, even without equal gains. To further support that there is benefit of white privilege, “Frank’s company slept in crowded berths… while Italian POW slept in luxury cabins” (Revoyr,116). Even though the US was also at war with Italians and the Germans, they were receiving great treatment. Therefore, Revoyr describes internment camps’ callous conditions to portray how Anglo-Saxons benefited from their skin color alone. While this story is fictional, the Japanese internment camps wsd an actual historical event with the same violence that Revoyr describes to highlight the mistreatment of minorities.
Interestingly, brutality against Asian Americans is mentioned again in Jackie’s era, where she hears of a “the murder of a young Asian man…whose killer bragged about murdering a chink” (Revoyr, 227). Even after 50 years post WWII, Asians are being targeted

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