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US Immigration History Reading Journal - Essay Example

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In Chapter 18, Women and Children Immigrants Amid a Patriarchal World, the author uses documents by reputed sociologists, popular ballads, and essays, to give us a clear picture of the evolution in the family order of immigrants, and the changes in the status of women and…
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US Immigration History Reading Journal
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Immigrant Families: Changes in Status of Women and Children. In Chapter 18, Women and Children Immigrants Amid a Patriarchal World, the author uses documents by reputed sociologists, popular ballads, and essays, to give us a clear picture of the evolution in the family order of immigrants, and the changes in the status of women and children, as a result of contact with urban, industrialized American society.
Thomas and Znaniecki (239) show how the family solidarity of the traditional Polish peasant immigrant is broken by individualization due to economic independence, often leading to alienation of children from their parents. Adams (242) criticizes the exploitation by immigrant parents of their children’s earnings, and extols the role of public schools as Americanizing agencies: school-going daughters educate their immigrant mothers. The third sociologist (244) depicts the patriarchal immigrant family, in which arranged marriages are the norm, and children automatically assume responsibility for their parents.
The the three Italian-American males (246), regret the undermining of traditional parental authority and the American-like freedom granted to immigrant women. The accounts of Swedish-Americans (248) demonstrate the economic and personal freedom gained by immigrant women in the USA. The Mexican ballads (249) echo the earlier Italian chauvinistic protest against liberalization of female behavior. The narrative of a Chinese prostitute (250) shows that, in some cases, female exploitation by ethnic groups continues even after immigration.
Diner’s essay (252) depicts how low marital rates, late marriages, desertion by husbands and prevalent domestic violence, combined with Irish women’s long stint in the labor force, effectively raises women’s authority and status within the family order. Finally, Ruiz’s (262) essay uses oral testimony from Chicano women to show the tension between expected adherence to traditional culture and the attraction of the American way of life. World War 11 brings new employment opportunities and hastens the Americanization of Chicano immigrants.
By the judicious choice and mix of primary sources, the author has succeeded in giving a very vivid picture of the life of women in traditional immigrant families and the changes brought about by contact with American society. It is evident that it is the women who served as the most active agents of change and accelerated the assimilation of immigrants into American society.
Works Cited.
Jackson, Shirley. “The Lottery.” Literature, An introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and
Writing, 11th Edition. Ed. X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. Longman (An imprint of Pearson). 2010, 2007 and 2005. 247- . Print. Read More
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