Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Literature, Books, Race, Oppression, Issue, People, Los Angeles, The Reader

Pages: 4

Words: 1100

Published: 2021/01/04

Southland, as many of Nina Revoyr’s works, is set in Los Angeles, a town to which she attaches much sentiment in her literature. The story depicts the issue of race and the contemporary complaint of minority oppression. Set in her hometown, south-central LA, Southland narrates the story of Jackie, a Japanese woman living in South LA, where she becomes close friends with most of the black neighbors. The story is set in a contemporary town where the characteristics depicted about the town are striking similar to the real characteristics. Strikingly, Revoyr is of Japanese heritage and also grew up in South Los Angeles.
One of the key features of her works is the critical description of events in a realistic manner, which makes the reader relate to most of the characters in the book. The book also addresses the issue of racial oppression and the manner in which minorities undergo a harsh life in the United States. The story is attributed to be descriptive of Los Angeles, to a point where a reader who has never visited the place would have an accurate image of Los Angeles as a town. Revoyr descriptive nature indicates her strikingly high observation skills. As such, it is evident that a key feature of her work is specificity.
Southland is also a depiction of the author’s real personality. With the book centered to address the issue of violence in the projects, Revoyr runs a not for profit organization assisting children affected by violence. However, Southland is more centered on the level of reluctance the government has in solving African American and minority murder cases as compared to Caucasian cases. Despite holding such sentiments, Revoyr is choosy in her vocabulary and presents an objective picture, which is not biased in any manner. Such formality is one of the key features of literature discussing racial and cultural issues. Revoyr appeal to a realistic approach to storytelling pertaining to racial issues is one of the most common strategies used by literature enthusiasts to address social issues (Chaudhri & Teale 362).
Arguably, most people would refer to Southland as a sequel to her earlier work The Necessary Hunger, which explores the case of the unresolved murders. However, in Southland, Revoyr explores various circumstances describing events such as death, getting wealth, dissatisfaction, and other emotional problems. Using Jackie as the lead character, Revoyr can discuss several issues in contemporary families, including secrets, which makes the book very interesting while conveying a deeper meaning. Revoyr can weave in suspicion throughout the book, despite the fact that the main purpose of the story is not to entertain but rather to educate the readers of prevalent social problems.
The story also appeals to the readers since it is a depiction of our individual struggles. Jackie, like most people in the contemporary world, is seeking to find peace between her past, present and future. By highlighting this issue, Revoyr is seen to be interactive with the reader appealing to their inner emotions as a way to keep the reader interested in the story. The success of a good novelist depends mainly on his or her ability to relate to the readers using the characters (Hammerschmidt 440). Revoyr can give an interesting story, keep the reader interested and also manage to address some of the key contemporary issues that need to be addressed.
One of the key aspects of the stories is the fact that it is very sad. Revoyr has purposely made the story to be sad as a way to win the sympathy of the audience. This approach assists her to pass the intended message and derive the intended reaction from the reader. Making a story about racial oppression and cultural diversity captivating would not win the sympathy of the audience and hence would not in any way influence their thinking towards resolution of the problem. The use of sadness in the book highlights the author’s perception of the issue.
Revoyr is also able to create a personal relationship with the audience by depicting some of the critical problems that Jackie faces pertaining to her identity and her self-consciousness, and being in a state of confusion is a stage that an individual undergoes once or recurrently throughout his life. As such, it is easy for people to relate to Jackie having been or being in the same situation as she is. Jackie is not only confused about her family secrets but also is undergoing much grief with the passing of her grandfather. Such descriptions are key areas that Revoyr uses when developing her characters. The book is mainly founded on the lead character’s life, but it depicts other people’s lives and the influence the supporting characters have over the lead character’s actions and the plot as well.
Symbolism is also a key feature of the book that makes it unique. Symbolism is present all across the book. The author uses symbolism to depict some of the main themes presented in the book. For instance, through describing some scenes that might appear unimportant to most people, Revoyr can reinforce the themes she presented before. For example, in Southland, she shows how two signs are indicating “whites only" and "colored only" within the story affected Jackie’s grandfather. “It was a dark brown board, attached to a pole that was sunken into the edge of the sand. Above were letters words, "whites only." Above the right were the words, "Colored Only." (Revoyr 97). The white and colored signposts symbolize segregation, a racially discriminatory practice that was prevalent during the book’s time setting.
Revoyr also uses other disciplines such as history to pass her message. In Southland, one of the disciplines she subscribes to is history. Cleverly, Revoyr introduces the history of racial oppression in Los Angeles since the Second World War. She describes the civil rights movements in minor details, citing them as protests and riots and also describes some of the resistances that the minorities had towards the then system. The book ignores some relevant indicator of racial oppression, such as police brutality since such themes lack relevance when related to the plot. Regardless, the appeal to history is a clear effort that the author wanted to educate the readers of racial oppression in Los Angeles and other parts of the world. Joyce also addresses the issue of unity among minorities. For instance, Joyce discusses a congregation of Asian and black men which was surprising. Joyce writes, "What struck her the most was that eh coffee shop was filled mostly with old people, about equal numbers Asians and blacks. She had seen gatherings of elderly Asian people, she had seen gatherings of elderly blacks, but never before had she seen the two in one place” (Revoyr 157).
The representation of culture and race in literature is part of the author’s effort to correct some of the social evils by influencing readers (Ledesma & Calderón 219). Literature, for centuries, has been used as a strategy to overcome issues such as oppression, correct social evils, fight for human rights and other similar purposes. Southland is an incredible depiction of themes of sexuality, racial oppression, cultural diversity and income difference in the contemporary society. The author uses various approaches to introducing the reader to the issue, most of which are discussed above.

Works Cited

Chaudhri, Amina, and William Teale. "Stories Of Multiracial Experiences In Literature For Children, Ages 9-14." Children's Literature in Education 44.4 (2013): 359-376. Print.
Hammerschmidt, Sören. "Barbauld's Richardson andthe Canonization of Personal Character." Eighteenth Century Fiction 25.2 (2013): 431-454. Print.
Ledesma, María C., and Dolores Calderón. "Critical Race Theory in Education: A Review of Past Literature anda Look tothe Future." Qualitative Inquiry 21.3 (2015): 206-222. Print.
Revoyr, Nina. Southland. New York: Akashic Books, 2003. Print.

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WePapers. (2021, January, 04) Southland Essay. Retrieved May 28, 2022, from https://www.wepapers.com/samples/southland-essay/
"Southland Essay." WePapers, 04 Jan. 2021, https://www.wepapers.com/samples/southland-essay/. Accessed 28 May 2022.
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WePapers. Southland Essay. [Internet]. January 2021. [Accessed May 28, 2022]. Available from: https://www.wepapers.com/samples/southland-essay/
"Southland Essay." WePapers, Jan 04, 2021. Accessed May 28, 2022. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/southland-essay/
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"Southland Essay," Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com, 04-Jan-2021. [Online]. Available: https://www.wepapers.com/samples/southland-essay/. [Accessed: 28-May-2022].
Southland Essay. Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/southland-essay/. Published Jan 04, 2021. Accessed May 28, 2022.

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