Racism and segregation among different races took place since the beginning of time, Accordion Crimes by E. Annie Proulx explores a similar situation of new immigrants coming to America seeking for a better life also known as the American dream but soon realize what its all about. The story spreads over about 100 years. The life that immigrants were living was very difficult. Racism and discrimination was part of every day life, it can be pretty similar to what Muslims have to go through since the catastrophe of September 11, 2001 that changed the world for ever. When new coming Italians arrived to United-States, they were all seen as part of some mafia, generalization was punishing those that had nothing to do with it like the Muslims today. What can be done to stop hatred between races? The easy answer is education, but thats not the only solution.
In order to recreate the world of new immigrants coming to America Proulx didnt use traditional narrative style but instead tried to use fragmentation style by not giving full complete stories which didnt link to one another except of the accordion which was passed from family to family. By the traveling of the accordion we can see what went on in different houses (families) since he was part of them for a moment. We have a feeling of violence in each story; in almost every story the ending finishes in a violent way; when Felix gets killed by a Japanese bomb, broken necks, car accidents and heart attacks. What those examples shows is that usually in poor environments the violence is more present then in rich and high educated neighborhoods.
This is a proven fact, so when the television shows the camps of Bin Laden, lets not be fooled the reason is that those people a raised like that from a very young age to hate America or United states. Thats when education plays a central role. By not being well educated, their information is controlled by a group of people which decide what to teach them, which results of raising a population to certain beliefs that a small group think to be just. By ending the stories in such ways is probably what Proulx wants; to change the state of mind of the reader to a similar uncomfortable helpless feeling that immigrants felt everyday back in the 1900s. This feeling shows that those groups of young Muslims follow the terrorists network because they feel vulnerable, and by not having a strong government, being part of a network good or bad gives them some sort of security.
The use of music is important in Accordion Crimes since it introduces the problems in society; prejudice is explained by the description of different music. The accordion maker calls the early blues that he hears in New Orleans bars as kitchen music (Proulx). He disliked the music that black men played, confused music, the melody, if there was one, deliberately hidden in braided skeins of rhythm.(Proulx). The description of racism in the stories is seen like it was part of an immigrant experience; meaning that your ethnic nationality seemed better to you than others. Proulx uses the different types of music as metaphor to the different races that immigrated to America. The use of music gives another way to explain its differences like those that exists in human races. Proulx uses the music to make us understand that racism can be solved but it needs understanding and will power. In Accordion Crimes different types of music are played by different cultures, but if you take the time to listen to the music you may find its difference and beauty in its own way. This shows that the reason for most racism, hatred and xenophobia is simply the lack of education but the lack of real and just education. If people are very well educated, it doesnt necessary mean that they will be less racist. What is important is that for those problems to disappear, we need will power. If peace is important to us, then the rights actions must start in the house at a young age to try to give a just and none racist education to the young generation. This is why education by itself will not help the situation in America and the Muslims in Afghanistan.
The recent attack on America which took place in New York and Washington on September 11, was accomplished by a group pf people that did not accept the life style of Americans and their values and for those and other reasons they wanted to stop our capitalist system by using extremes measures. The description of what immigrants went through in the novel is in some sort what Muslims have to go through today after the attack. Muslims in America even though they are not related to the attacks are victims because people generalize all the time, its part o human nature. Its like in the boot when all Italians that came from Sicily were all categorized to be part of a mob. Its also similar to the situation of the Japanese that were living in North America during World War 2; since the United-States were at war with Japan, all American Japanese were taken into custody. The problem that Muslims face today is caused by the terrorists who use Muslim religion a reason for their acts and evil beliefs. Stereotypes are part of none-educated human mind. Thats why the son of the accordion maker decided to change his family name to an American name so he can be part of the main society not the minority.
What can be learned by reading this book are the problems that immigrants faced when coming to America, what they had to go through. By seeing the situation they were in we can understand why certain hatred and racism was part of everyday life. By comparing the life of immigrants to the Muslims of today, many things in common they have. By analyzing those common points we can understand their point of view. By doing so, its possible to realize that education is one way to help todays situation but not the only one. The important one is will power of eliminating racism and thats starts by giving right education to our kids, the new young generation and not to brain wash them to hate one another.
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