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Passage to america


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Christina Brownell
LIT 311
Cambridge College

Published in: Education, News & Politics
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Passage to america

  1. 1. Passage to America New Immigrants Tell Their Stories
  2. 2. “Coming to America” <ul><li>America is a land of immigrants with stories that comprise a major part of our literary landscape </li></ul><ul><li>These stories trace the ancestry of early settlements in New England, and the more recent arrivals from all parts of the world </li></ul><ul><li>More than four centuries of immigration have given Americans a rich cultural mix of stories </li></ul>
  3. 3. Recent Decades <ul><li>From 1980 on, there has been a flood of drama, poetry, memoir, and fiction contributed by writers from around the world </li></ul><ul><li>Young well-educated group of newly arrived Americans have transformed the literary landscape with new and distinctive voices </li></ul><ul><li>“ Passage to America” theme is still present but the immigrants and their stories have changed </li></ul>
  4. 4. 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act <ul><li>Did away with old immigration controls and instituted sweeping changes </li></ul><ul><li>Old rules limited immigration with rigid national quotas, favoring Europeans </li></ul><ul><li>1965 rules gave priority to educated and skilled workers and uniting families </li></ul><ul><li>Resulted in influx of Caribbean, Central American, South American, Chinese, Indian, Korean and other Asian immigrants </li></ul>
  5. 5. First Source of New Writers: Upwardly Mobile Immigrants <ul><li>Many possessed specific skills in medicine, business, computers, science, and education </li></ul><ul><li>Newly established professionals worked hard to see their children become educated </li></ul>
  6. 6. Clash of Cultures <ul><li>Struggle to retain ethnic heritage vs. assimilation into American traditions </li></ul><ul><li>These contrasts provide perfect material for literature – showing comedy, passion, drama </li></ul><ul><li>Ready audience of second generation immigrant readers </li></ul><ul><li>Appeals to wider American audience </li></ul>
  7. 7. Second Source of New Writers: South of the Border <ul><li>Mexicans in the United States have been producing literature for generations but have become much more visible as education levels have risen </li></ul><ul><li>More young people are fluent in English, the major language in the literary market </li></ul><ul><li>Issues to write about for Chicano and Chicana writers are the same as other immigrants, with additional ones as well </li></ul>
  8. 8. Themes of New Writing <ul><li>America as a land of freedom and opportunity </li></ul><ul><li>America as a land of disappointment because of discrimination and hard economic times </li></ul><ul><li>Desire to retain original traditions while “fitting in” is difficult </li></ul><ul><li>Transition from one culture to another is heartbreaking </li></ul><ul><li>Shock of cultural differences and prejudice </li></ul>
  9. 9. Publishing Issues for Multicultural Writers <ul><li>Material for stories is rich and is readily exploited by publishers </li></ul><ul><li>Writers feel “pigeonholed” as though only ethnic themes are expected </li></ul><ul><li>Writers do not want to be forced into writing about predictable themes and issues of their culture </li></ul><ul><li>Should writers honor old traditions or can they strike out on their own with new subjects? </li></ul>
  10. 10. What Does it Take to Become Fully American?