The Novel is a riveting portrayal of the intricacies of family dynamics and the socialist complexities of race and class in America. The Novel examines issues related to identity, parenthood, and the pressure that society places on people. The contradiction between Mia and Pearl’s unusual and nomadic lifestyle and the ostensibly lovely suburban town of Shaker Heights is one of the Novel’s main conflicts that delves into the complexities of human relationships and societal expectations and discrimination. While the suburban lifestyle of Shaker Heights, an affluent suburb in Ohio, may seem ideal on the surface, it is not exempt from the prejudices and restrictions that exist in society. Discrimination conflicts are also entrenched in the judicial system, where justice is limited regarding racial and ethnic opportunity, financial status, and connections. Bebe fights through a predominantly discriminatory white legal system for custody of her child against the advantaged McCullough adoptive parents. Mrs. Richardson also finds herself in a gender-discriminatory situation at her workplace, as her efforts are frequently minimized and not taken seriously by her male counterpart. “Little Fires Everywhere” by Celeste Ng is a novel that explores various forms of discrimination that exist in society.
Class status discrimination
With their lovely home and well-respected status in the neighborhood, the Richardsons are a perfect example of a Shaker Heights family. However, despite the tranquil existence of the Richardsons, She is disturbed by the entrance of Mia and Pearl Warren. Mia and Pearl are outsiders, questioning the community’s established standards with their nomadic lifestyle and unusual decisions. Mrs. Elena Richardson’s reaction when Mia and Pearl first arrive at the Richardson’s house portray class discrimination. For instance, “She was surprised by how messy Mia looked, with her wild curls and too-bright lipstick. The girl beside her was equally unkempt, in a baggy sweatshirt and faded jeans. They both looked as if they would come from a long trip, even though the car outside looked new.” (Ng, 2017, p. 24) ” demonstrating how Mrs. Richardson is surprised by Mia and Pearl’s look since it does not conform to the rich and well-groomed image she favors.
The difference between the Warrens and Richardsons exemplifies the contradiction between the values of the rich and the underprivileged. Possessing these experiences, Mia and Pearl, struggle to find their place in the world, and they are used to examine the topics of social identity and belonging to discrimination. The way the Richardson family treats Mia and Pearl, for instance, emphasizes the discrimination in class between the two families. The Richardson family is portrayed as affluent and privileged, shielded from hardship and poverty.
On the other hand, Mia and Pearl are socially discriminated against and portrayed as outsiders who struggle to fit in in Shaker Heights. The research indicates that the community prioritizes social status and conformity discrimination, which results in a lack of compassion and understanding for people who do not fit the mold. The book delves into the complexity and inconsistencies of the idyllic-seeming Shaker Heights neighborhood, exposing the hidden barriers and prejudices.
The Richardson family’s treatment of Mia and Pearl is a microcosm of the larger issues in Shaker Heights, where social status and conformity are highly valued. Mia and Pearl’s outsider status highlights the class divide and the difficulties faced by those who do not fit the community’s expectations (Sagita 288-302). Mia’s unconventional lifestyle and background make her an object of suspicion and curiosity, while Pearl’s mixed-race identity brings attention to the racial divide and discrimination in the community. The Novel examines how the desire for control and stability of social status can lead to the suppression of individuality and the perpetuation of social status inequality. The Richardson family’s insistence on order and conformity is contrasted with Mia’s artistic and free-spirited approach to life, which challenges the community’s values and norms regarding social status.
Racial and Ethnic Identity Discrimination
Racial and ethnic identity issues are included in the community’s prejudices and discrimination. The McCulloughs’ and Bebe’s adoption case is a stark reminder of the community’s lack of comprehension of the complexity of identity. The treatment of Bebe, an impoverished immigrant battling an affluent white couple for custody of her child, demonstrates the community’s prejudices and discrimination toward race and ethnic identity. The story proves that the community’s perceptions are tainted by their prejudices, causing them to disregard the significance of race identity and connection. Some biases against race and ethnic identity can bring about discrimination, taint judgment, and result in unfair treatment of those who do not conform to the community’s idealized race and ethnic ideals. Because of their cultural background, the marginalized are more discriminated against and vulnerable to the negative impacts of such biases. Because of her sense of entitlement as white, McCullough believes she has the right to decide who qualifies as a “good” mother. She has no in-depth relationship with May Ling or anything connected to the bond she has formed with May Ling because she is so preoccupied with the idea of motherhood as it relates to material items. Bebe and Mia, two women of color, are cruelly punished for sharing the same humanity because they are held to a different standards.
Discrimination in Career aspirations
The characters in Celeste Ng’s book “Little Fires Everywhere” experience various forms of discrimination based on job aspirations. Two families, the Richardsons and the Warrens, whose lives collide in Shaker Heights, Ohio, are at the center of the narrative. With the help of Pearl, her teenage daughter, Mia Warren, a single mother, and artist, relocates to Shaker Heights and begins working as the Richardsons’ cleaner. The idea of career goals discrimination is one of the themes, notably regarding Mia’s work as an artist. Mia has struggled to support herself as an artist, and many around her frequently view her job odd choice with skepticism and criticism. For instance, the city officials attempt to censor Mia’s art because it represents current social difficulties when she is contracted to produce a photographic mural for a nearby community center. However, when Mia attempts to display her art publicly, the city officials object to the piece and attempt to censor it. One official states, “We do not want to offend anyone, and we certainly do not want to be seen as promoting violence or disorder” (Ng 202). This emphasizes the anxiety and discomfort many experiences when faced with complex or upsetting social issues, especially racial and gender discrimination. Instead of confronting and resolving the underlying reasons for social inequality, the city officials are fostering a culture of silence and erasure by attempting to suppress Mia’s artwork.
Mia’s experience with censorship raises a more general problem of how female voices are frequently muted or disregarded in society. People are scared of things they do not comprehend, and when they are scared, they want to maintain the status quo. They do not desire any changes. Mia’s encounter with censorship in “Little Fires Everywhere” is a potent reminder of the continuous fight for the necessity for female voices to be recognized and appreciated in society.
Mrs. Richardson and Mia disagree over why someone would pursue such an uncertain artistic job path, another source of conflict between them. Mrs. Richardson frequently criticizes Mia’s artistic ability and views it as a hobby rather than a legitimate career, stating, “Anyone can take a picture. Real art requires discipline” (Ng, 2017, p. 147). The prejudice towards Mia’s career goals reflects society’s propensity to denigrate, undermine and discriminate the creatives and artists’ work. Mia’s tale serves as a reminder that everyone should have the opportunity to pursue their passions and aspirations and that one’s choice of job should not cause discrimination and condemnation. The book “Little Fires Everywhere” examines the subject of discrimination against people with certain job objectives from the perspective of Mia Warren. Her artistic career has frequently been criticized and judged, reflecting society’s propensity to devalue and disparage the work of creatives.
Justice and the Legal System Discrimination
Justice and the legal system are major social themes in “Little Fires Everywhere,” The story explores the conflicts and the legal system’s discriminatory role in defending disadvantaged families based on race and class status. The custody dispute between the McCulloughs, an affluent white couple who adopted a child, and Bebe Chow, a poor Chinese immigrant who left her baby, is one of the Novel’s key conflicts. Bebe’s struggle to regain custody of her child highlights the discrimination immigrant parents face. In addition to the effect of financial and cultural discrimination and inequalities on family bonds, the case raises issues regarding the rights of biological parents vs. adoptive parents. The book also addresses racial discrimination and legal concerns as Mia assists Bebe in her court battle for custody of her child in a predominately white legal system. The community’s biases lead to the overlook of identity and connection in motherhood and custody battles; for instance, according to the lawyer’s argument, “Ms. Chow is a Chinese immigrant, working multiple jobs to support herself and her child. She does not have the resources, education, or connections the McCulloughs have… She has been living in a homeless shelter for the past year, and even before that, she was living in overcrowded, substandard conditions.” (Ng 234). Bebe is at a disadvantage in her legal dispute with the McCulloughs because of her race, ethnicity, of Chinese immigration status, as they judged Bebe based on her immigrant racial and ethnic identity status and financial status and assumed she was not fit to raise her child. Society can become more unjust, where everyone is treated without respect and dignity brought about by racial and ethnic identity discrimination, by not recognizing and dealing with prejudices.
The narrative illustrates how racial, class, and cultural discrimination can affect how justice is administered and how cases turn out. The novel highlights issues regarding the place of social responsibility inside the legal system. Although the McCulloughs may have complied with all legal requirements for adoption, the Novel makes the case that there may be a higher moral need to consider the original mother’s needs and interests and the child’s cultural heritage. The “Little Fires Everywhere” tackles intricate matters of justice, law, and social responsibility while posing challenges regarding how legal systems can help or hurt disadvantaged families and individuals.
The issue of female discrimination, particularly in the workplace, is explored in the “Little Fires Everywhere” miniseries adaption. The Novel portrays the role of journalist Elena Richardson, who works for a neighborhood newspaper. She encounters opposition and prejudice from her male coworkers, who frequently minimize her efforts and do not take her seriously; for instance, “Elena could tell, from the way that her male colleagues talked over her in meetings or dismissed her ideas, that they did not take her seriously as a journalist” (Ng 64). In a scenario, Elena presents a story idea to her editor, who rejects it as a “woman’s issue” and advises her to concentrate on a more crucial matter. The sexist comment annoys and offends Elena, drawing attention to the gender-based prejudice she encounters at work.
Drawing attention to the problem of workplace discrimination against women. A female journalist named Elena Richardson experiences this discrimination from her male coworkers, who discount her ideas and talk over her in meetings, signaling that they do not take her as a professional. This mentality indicates a more widespread social issue where women are frequently devalued, and their efforts are disregarded because of gender biases. The remark demonstrates how gender discrimination can appear subtly through interruptions or dismissive attitudes. However, the effects can be profound, impeding women’s advancement in the workplace and overall success.
Elena’s battles with gender inequality are contrasted with Mia Warren’s. Mia battles discrimination as a working mother and artist. Mia’s narrative highlights how discrimination is often interrelated and how other types can make gender-based discrimination worse. The “Little Fires Everywhere” miniseries’ outstanding portrayal of the effects of gender-based discrimination on women in the workplace. Elena’s tale highlights the challenges women encounter in industries with a male preponderance and how sexism interacts with other forms of discrimination. The miniseries contributes to a larger discussion about gender equality and the need to establish more equitable and inclusive workplaces by examining these topics.
Race, class, gender, and parental prejudice are the discrimination issues covered in “Little Fires Everywhere.” There should be an emphasis on the negative effects of discrimination on people and communities and stresses how crucial empathy and understanding are in bridging the gap between those from various backgrounds. The issue of class prejudice is emphasized through the perspective of Mia, a single mother, and struggling artist. The wealthier inhabitants of Shaker Heights, particularly Mrs. Richardson, survive by frequently criticizing Mia’s financial status because of a lack of understanding of why someone would pick precarious work. The influence of financial security on day-to-day living is shown by the Novel’s outstanding depiction of the lifestyle and viewpoint disparities between the wealthy Richardsons and the less affluent Warrens.
Additionally, Elena’s character, who experiences gender-based discrimination at work, is a lens through gender inequality analyses. Opposition and prejudice minimize efforts; as a journalist, Elena frequently faces discrimination from her male coworkers who do not take her seriously. This theme intends to draw attention to the challenges women experience in industries where males and the pressing need for improved workplace gender equality dominate.
Williams, Susan S. “Revising The Scarlet Letter: Race and Motherhood in In the Blood and Little Fires Everywhere.” Adaptation 15.1 2022: 51-67. https://doi.org/10.1093/adaptation/apab006
Sagita, Dwi Mayang, and Delvi Wahyuni. “A Marxist Reading of Little Fires Everywhere (2017) By Celeste Ng.” English Language and Literature 9.3 (2020): 288-302.
Ng, Celeste. Little Fires Everywhere (Movie Tie-In): A Novel. Penguin, 2020.