English Blog

Detroit has fallen and cannot recover April 5, 2010

Filed under: Detroit — writing4english @ 4:48 PM

As Lefty and Desdemona progress throughout their story it starts to unfold as they move to Detroit, MI. They move in with Lina and Jimmy Zizmo and adapt to their new lifestyle just as they leave their past behind. Lina and Desdemona happen to both get pregnant the same exact night and are both expecting their first child. Lefty knew that he needed to find a new job after he was fired from Ford’s plant because his Sociological Department did not approve of Jimmy. During the five dollar days Ford made the workers into robots that could work and try to live up to a certain standard. He expected so much out of them and gave them no more than a wage in return. As workers shuffled out each day “they descended out of the America of factory work and tyrannical foremen” (Eugenides 132). Ford was a dictator in his factories and did not accept less than the best of the best. He did not accept Lefty because of the people he was living with which was unjust.  So as that door closed another opened for Lefty and he decided to help Jimmy out in his illegal work of rum running during the prohibition period. One evening Jimmy has a meltdown while driving on the frozen lake; Lefty escapes the car but Jimmy got stuck in a soft spot and “a loud crack, followed by a scintillation spreading underfoot, as the Packard hits a dark patch on the frozen lake. Just like ice, lives crack, too…Because the ice is screaming. Zizmo’s front wheels crash through the surface…and, with a shower of sparks, everything goes dark” (Eugenides 125). I believe this is foreshadowing what is about to happen to Detroit. There are several small cracks in the city and the pressure of the city causes a large crack which consumes the city. The pressure of blacks and whites trying to live within the same city when there is tension between the two races. Causes the city to fall through the large crack and is drowning in its own water. As time moves on, “the ice had refrozen during the night and a few inches of new snow had fallen” (Eugenides 126). Furthermore, the city is just looked over because the lake freezes over the chaos. If everyone just looks over the problems and tension in the city that is building up; how can there be change? If the people of Detroit are not willing to help solve the problem, what makes other people willing to help? The tension of African Americans moving into city filled with whites is being masked by its own citizens, until the ice breaks and does not refreeze. As stated by Eugenides the low class area of Detroit was called, “Black Bottom, for all the whites’ attempts to contain it- and because of the inexorable laws of poverty and racism- would slowly spread , street by street, neighborhood by neighborhood, until the so-called ghetto would become the entire city itself” (142). As the migration of African Americans moved into the city the whites moved into the suburbs. When most of the citizens moved out it caused an economic quicksand; dragging the poor in and sucking them under unable to escape the wrath of the city. Even the white citizens felt like they were being pulled under, not by the city but because of the African Americans. In the book Desdemona was at a shop and the clerk would not take change from an African American customer and told them just to leave it on the counter. Detroit was in bad shape before the laws of segregation, and even now many people have assumptions about the different ethnicities living in and around Detroit. Detroit has fallen into a hole and has never really come out of it. It just gets shrugged off and ignored but now is the time to step up.

Olivia Lewis

I would like to use this in my final paper please =]

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6 Responses to “Detroit has fallen and cannot recover”

  1. You use some very good metaphors in your essay. I also like your take on Zizmo car falling through the ice in regards to forshadowing. Very interesting

    kevin cunningham

  2. And I reliaze now that no one else posted so were both over achievers i guess. Your essay in also very informal. I think it will be fine for the final yo.

    kevin cunningham

  3. I really liked your post!! i would have never looked at the incident that happened on the ice with zizmo the way you did!
    -Geri Gabrielson

  4. I think you did a great job with the quotes that you chose. Breaking them down shows a very interesting relationship to Detroit. I like it 🙂

    Nayeli Garza.

  5. I like your post! I love the way you compared the incident with Jimmy Zizmo to the city of Detroit. I think it’s too bad that Detroit even back then could not recover from its problems.

    Danielle Harteau

  6. Very, very good. I would have bought your analysis, Olivia, if you had stopped after the first quote. But the second quote about the ice, and the third about Detroit REALLY prove your point. You can certainly use this in your essay. Excellent job.

    ~Jenna G.

    [In class today, I gave out assignment instructions. Make sure to ask for them on Thursday and if you have trouble fitting this stuff into one of the topics, let me know and I’ll help].


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