Analysis Of ' The Subway Passage '

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In Fran Ross’ Oreo, the self-titled main character serves as the ultimate minority as she goes on a journey to Philadelphia in pursuit of her absent father. Through the analysis of the subway passage, Ross questions if America is binary or biracial by comparing different passengers’ movements. Race comes into play and leads to a generalization. However, this politically charged passage deals with the racial stereotypes associated with human activity. Furthermore, the broad generalization of travelers on Philadelphia’s public transit reveals who is superior and inferior with comedic satire. Focusing on the passage details of the repetition and rhythm in the narrative, characterization of racial stereotypes, and biracial identity of Oreo, offers insight into the reality of American life. Rather than existing as the standard compartmentalization of race, Ross attempts to reconstruct ethnic identity through commentary on race relations. Ultimately, Ross relies on dark humor to mock the bigotry of everyday occurrences while offering potent social criticism on race relations. While underground in Philadelphia’s subway, Ross repeatedly uses word correspondence to establish a narrative rhythm for the reader. Fran Ross critiques different commuters as they struggle to avoid the “irritation, humiliation, irrigation, and syncopation,” caused by the station’s leaky pipes. The vernacular is strongly based on tempo, rhyming and movement through the composition’s emphasis on movement. Furthermore, she stresses the consecutive repetition in the following sentence, stating, “According to the number of drops that fell on the traveler from the Leaky Pipes, he or she was irritated, humiliated or irrigated.” Not only does this establish a friendly n... ... middle of paper ... ...n this passage, it appears there is no biracial identity in America. The way the Blacks and Whites interact with the rhythm of the subway reveals a divide in society. By playing with racial stereotypes, Ross undercuts them with a character that epitomizes bifurcation. Oreo deviates from the “irritation, humiliation, irrigation, and syncopation,” because she has both White and Black attributes. Her heritage is a combination of Jewish and African-American ancestry. Additionally, the concept of biracial in relation to ethnicity and identity is encapsulated in Oreo’s attempt to understand her personal identity. Overall, Ross’ social criticism of racial stereotypes is compelling because it occurs in a common location. Manipulating everyday situations, such as traveling on public transit and body movement, exposes the ways different ethnic majorities and minorities exist.
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