“This was the West Side. When you asked a Negro where he lived, and he said on the West Side, that was supposed to mean he was better than the Negroes who lived on the South Side; it was like the white folks giving a Beverly Hills address” (48).
Alice’s house is the location of several important scenes in the novel. It provides a physical foundation for a continuous discourse on the role of the black individual in a racist world (especially how class and skin color alter the individual's perception of his or her role). Alice’s house, and particularly its location, should also force us as readers to examine the geography of race and class in Los Angeles. How does where you live reflect your class and race? How is the organization of space in Los Angeles related to social control? Architecture arguably maps, organizes, and maintains a society’s ideologies, hierarchies, relationship to the environment, and evolution over time. In this way, architecture communicates and maintains power. How has LA been designed and constructed to control and organize human behavior and perception? Can we read the architecture of Los Angeles as a way to better understand the society that constructed it? In the quote above, Bob seems to suggest that we can.