Americanization Essay

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Al Sam American Literature II - Spring 2012 February 17, 2012 Americanization As a political junkie, I am enthralled by our presidential politics that pit one politician against another. The process and the money that is involved in this event, is by far the most interesting thing that an immigrant like me identifies as uniquely American. But if asked what an American is, it wouldn’t be easy to define since the meaning of America is not that simple a concept to define. Is it the land, the people or the culture? It can be any or all. In the late 19th century, the idea of making all the multitudes of immigrants who were rushing into America “American” became a central concern of the government. The role of the English language and the concept of immigrants forsaking their customs and way of life became a central debate that immigration laws were instituted. The ensuing consequences of these laws is addressed by the Asian American writer Sui Sin Far in the story “In the Land of the free”, where a Chinese couple lose their child to Immigration officials who take away their child because he was born in China. The emotional suffering and the financial toll the event takes on the parents is vividly portrayed by the writer, that the reader is left with a distinct feeling that the process of Americanization was inherently flawed however well-intentioned. “See Little One- the hills in the morning sun. There is thy home for years to come. It is very beautiful and thou wilt be very happy there” (Far 1). The promise of happiness and the concept of a new start is an inherently universal concept for all immigrants who come to America. The idea that a new life that has a lot of possibilities is often what makes people immigrate to America, however the ensuing dialogue between the Immigration officials and the

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