Archive for April, 2004

Twentieth Century Changes

Thursday, April 1st, 2004

In The Clarinet Polka, a novel about Polish Americans in a town very similar to Wheeling, West Virginia, the author Keith Maillard describes an encounter between two Polish Americans. The son of a working class Polish family living in the town’s Polish neighborhood pays a visit to a family that arrived after World War II as displaced persons. The head of the family is resented for his “pure Polish” and for the fact that he got a college degree, became an accountant, and moved across the river to a better part of town. Set in the early 1970s in a community not unlike Cleveland’s, The Clarinet Polka shows how Polish Americans changed throughout the twentieth century as they became more rooted in American society.