The Role of Migration in American Literature
The Role of Migration in American Literature
American literature relates to the literary works that have been done in the United States. With migration in place, the immigrants and the migration system played a central role in shaping the literature of American books. These immigrants moved from all manner of places globally, and this changed the course of American literature which will have a lasting impact. The diversity in content brought by the immigrants brought a broad spectrum of understanding different cultures like African or even Jewish. Further, through migration, various themes attained a new perspective as more and more immigrant writers explored the topics like racism, gender inequalities, workplace discrimination among others.
The immigrants originated from different parts of the world which affected the writing approach and orientation. A persons upbringing and culture would affect the content and persuasion of their writing. The experiences of these individuals assisted in the propagation of the immigrants in their home countries. Such information would be essential as it would vary significantly from the materials of Americans who visited the countries shortly and made accounts of their voyage. Such American travelers would offer a subjective perspective of the other countries because of time limitation
The immigrants have helped produce materials that would help the rest of the world know what it feels to live in a foreign country with language barriers and different cultures. The rich content especially of the 19th century helps elaborate issues of racism that were prevalent then. Through the experience of the immigrants in the hands of the natives, the progression of human rights issues can be well understood. Although some of the experiences and situations are written in the novels only are fictional, they are a great elaboration of similar situations in real life. In the poem If we must die by a Jamaican poet McKay, it explains the plight of the immigrants in the US. Through the poor treatment, some would die in a way that is dishonorable and lacks dignity. However, through his works, one can be able to understand his desire that regardless of the race, each person ought to be treated honorably till their death. Through his works and others, the selfish nature of the Americans would be understood and how they would place their needs primary and disregard that of the non-native dwellers. Moreover, the immigrants would also explain the challenges of a new culture to a place where there are stereotypes already in existence. Such stereotypes would just be the belief systems that the Native Americans held regarding people from certain parts of the world. For instance, the coming of the African to the US would demystify the assumption that Africa is underdeveloped, people live in the forests and no piped water of electrification. Thus the writings about Africa would change and writers would appreciate the rich culture of Africa which would also form the identity of the immigrants. The migration would bring on board individuals who would create content that transcends time and geographical location.
Through migration to the United States, some topics that were never prevalent started being in the limelight of literature. For instance, topics related to human rights, equal wages, the immigrant experience, racism, and discrimination were given more weight unlike when the immigrants had not secured a place in the United States. The knowledge through experience of the immigrants provides information regarding the challenges experienced by the immigrants. Some had to look for their own means to survive in a foreign country where they knew no one. For instance, the aspect of slavery has been well expounded to bring the experiences of the slaves in a narrative form as to capture the attention of the reader (Douglas, 2000). Moreover, in their pursuit of survival, they experienced segregation and discrimination in securing employment in the US. Further, the experiences would progress through the poor working environment that most of the immigrants would face especially those who would come as refugees. The risk of their lives and the poverty that would characterize their everyday lives led to writing content that maybe would help other adjust easily or make necessary preparations on survival. Further, low wages among the immigrants without the position of supervision would characterize the content which would stimulate dwellers of the US to also write on those topics maybe to defend their country from such accusations. The issues of gender inequalities would also be seen, and topics related to social evils and immigrations would also be expounded.
The migration process provided rich content that would help understand the cultures of other countries and why they did what they would do. Because America is technologically advanced and publishing of content would be easier than most of the countries that the immigrants came, information would circulate more easily. Thus, the American students would have an experience of studying about the Jewish culture, African practices as well as Jamaican orientation to certain music. The understanding of other people is important in literature is important as it helps people to be treated as they should without despising their culture or by considering their practices as barbaric. For instance, with the coming of the immigrants some content regarding how the American writers viewed African cultures and how they tried tirelessly to help them quit some practices, would prove not worthwhile as people would understand that the culture is what gave the people that identity.
In conclusion, migration has played a central role in shaping the American literature by bringing more writers and readers on board. Through migration the content of writing was enhanced through diversity. Many writers would write about a certain topic from different perspectives allowing a panoramic view of matter. That would ensure all facets are in consideration when discussing a topic. Additionally, certain issues were given significant emphasis throughout the immigration season, topics relating to human rights, valuing other peoples culture were all regarded as important. Thus the content was enriched by the migration process, and credible information regarding different parts of the world was brought on board in American literature.
Douglass, F. (2000). Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass, an American slave. Random House Digital, Inc..
Plascencia, S. (2005). The People of Paper. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.