In Seedfolks, why was Amir critical of America?

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Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman is structured as a series of vignettes, with each chapter written from the point of view of a different character. Amir, an Indian immigrant, is the 12th character introduced. His narrative opens with a complaint that despite the millions of people populating his home country, “you...

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Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman is structured as a series of vignettes, with each chapter written from the point of view of a different character. Amir, an Indian immigrant, is the 12th character introduced. His narrative opens with a complaint that despite the millions of people populating his home country, “you know your neighbors.” In America, however, you “avoid contact, to treat all as foes.”

He describes how people in his urban Cleveland neighborhood used to treat each other suspiciously, the limited interactions they have tinged with prejudice. For example, Amir describes being called a “dirty foreigner” by a customer in his store. He contrasts this past atmosphere of hate with the new atmosphere of unity the garden brings the community. The greatest benefit the garden brings, Amir says, is that it makes them “see our neighbors.” They are now friendly, helping each other, part of a community. The same woman who had used a racial slur against Amir now sees him with new eyes, apologizing profusely and saying that before, “I didn’t know it was you.”

Amir’s story shows that just through simple interactions, people can view each other as individuals and grow to an understanding and appreciation of individual diversity. 

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