The image of Irish-American in American Literature

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The image of Irish-American in American Literature In Engle’s (2001) opinion an image of an Irish immigrant in American literature appears to be a negative one. For instance, in the nineteenth-century when Irish mass immigration to the United States began, a motive of the uneducated, ill-mannered Irish worker became extremely popular in American culture and literature. Engle refers to the research conducted by a historian Dale Knobel, in which he examines approximately 1600 references to Irish-Americans from 1820 to 1860. As a result of his thorough study of press, popular fiction and government documents, an image of the "Paddy stereotype" has been formed. Yet, it needs to be pinpointed that it was overwhelmingly negative due to the fact that it stressed violent nature as well as lacking intellect. Picture 1 Cartoons for magazines such as Harper's Weekly featured cartoons by Thomas Nast and depicted Irish immigrants as ape-like barbarians prone to lawlessness, laziness and drunkenness. "St. Patrick's Day, 1867...Rum, Blood, The Day We Celebrate" shows a riot with policemen and ape-like Irishmen (from Additionally, the physical description of Irish-Americans attributed their perceived character flaws to imputed biological deficiencies. Engle (2001: 152) states: Pseudosciences such as physiognomy and phrenology emphasized the "dark eyes, florid complexion, red hair, robust figure, and simianized face (prominent cheekbones, upturned nose, and projecting teeth)" of Irish Americans. Cartoons in influential magazines such as Harper's illustrated Irish-Americans with extended jaws, dark faces, and beady eyes. Other print sources, including newspapers, school books, and government documents, referred to Irish-Americans as "Low-browed and savage, grovelling and bestial, lazy and wild, simian and sensual." That writers
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