Immigration Portrayed as an Experience of Uprootedness and Transplantation


Immigration Portrayed as an Experience of Uprootedness by Oscar Handlin discusses how peasant’s lives changed when immigrating to America. The essay begins talking about the life of peasants as well as their role within their village. Handlin’s statement, “for the, peasant was part of a community and the community was held to the land as a whole” shows the purpose peasants had in their villages. By having kinship and duties peasants life had value. Hadlin shows how this value is changed when peasants become American immigrants. Hadlin explains that peasants went through challenges while trying to fit into American society because it was so different than the life they had in villages. The challenges immigrants faced lead to them feeling like outsiders in their new community. Hadlin claims that those feelings and the lack of tradition and authority lead immigrants to conservatism.

Immigration Portrayed As an Experience of Transplantation by John Bodnar discusses the two separate classes immigrants adapted to when coming to America. The first class is represented as the Middle class. This class is relatively small but involves immigrants who received reinforcement from supporters such as government officials and educators. This reinforcement helped this group of immigrants place a high value on their freedom, develop a sense of power, achieve personal gain, and look for an improved future. The second class is known as the Working class. This group of immigrants was very large and composed of low-wage workers. They didn’t have the individual representation by others in society or the power of the Middle class. Their main goal was to provide for their family not achieve personal gain. Furthermore, Bodnar discusses how capitalism affected the life immigrants had in America. Their inability to understand capitalism reflected into their struggle in adapting to America as well as the development of their own culture based on their place in society.

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