Flight Patterns is a short story whose main character is William who spends most of his time on the planes. He is married to Marie, and together they have one daughter named Grace. Also, another key character, cab driver is hailing from Ethiopia whose name is Fekadu. Following the 9/11 attacks in Seattle, the life of each character seems to change significantly particularly in their interactions with people. One thing that is predominantly evident is that the labeling that had existed all along became more affirmed among their interactions.
Grace changes in significant ways as she sees the hatred, oppression, and profiling that children have to grow up to experience. As such, she uses symbolism to describe the mental shifts that have occurred in her mind and what she desires. For instance, she has a problem being a human being and wishes she would be a leaf which has no gender or color but is adored and cherished by people. She states that she does not want to be a girl with short hair or long hair or no hair. In a leaf, Grace argues that people see beauty and equality unlike in human beings where such equality is non-existent. People look at leaves, they neither label nor profile them but just consider them. The labeling of being called dark skinned, Mexican, Long-haired, reserved, etc. is what causes her to change her mental processes regarding peoples perception. Also, the profiling that is dominant everything leads her to reconsider leaves again and again. She adds that leaves are calm, peaceful, different colors yet coexist just well and are organic and relaxed such that it would be such a blessing to become a leaf.
William as dedicated and committed salesperson changes mostly during his flights when he experiences suspicious looks on the airplane as one of the bombers of Seattle. At one instance, he affirms that he is not those short brown people they suspected he was but a Native American who has a reason to bomb the US but chooses not. He changes to seek ways to deal with the unequal treatment and profiling that he would experience as people thought him as a Spanish or a Muslim. In fact, at one instance, some individuals suspect he is Spanish, but he sarcastically answers in Spanish saying he does not speak Spanish but a Native American (Ladino, 36). Thus, it would be possible to suggest that this change was as a result of pressure mounted on him through the unfair profiling. Fekadu also changes following the analysis done based on his looks alone, and he is placed in a certain group and specifically Black American. In displeasure, he once answered a person who asked him if he was from East Coast or West Coast that he hailed from Ivory Coast is outright sarcasm.
In conclusion, Grace, her father, William, and Fekadu the taxi driver change significantly following the Seattle 9/11 occurrence that made people look suspiciously at physical appearances of ethnic groups that the bombers were likely to be part of. As such, issues of racism, hatred, inequalities become prevalent. People who feel threatened by such labeling and profiling are forced to respond accordingly. Grace wishes to be a leave, William denies to know Spanish while using the same language to talk and Fekadu states he is neither from East or West Coast but Ivory Coast since his opponents had already concluded he is Black American.
Ladino, Jennifer K. "" A Limited Range of Motion?": Multiculturalism," Human Questions," and Urban Indian Identity in Sherman Alexie's Ten Little Indians." Studies in American Indian Literatures 21.3 (2009): 36-57.
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