The Message in Girl in Translation
There always have been immigrants since the early days in the United States. The number of immigrants continues to grow throughout periods of time. “As in 2006, the number of immigrants is 37.5 million. After 2000, immigration to the United States numbered approximately 1,000,000 per year. A recent survey by Gallup showed that there are about 165 million adults worldwide named the United States as their top country where they would like to migrate permanently” (Immigration, Wikipedia). What is the reason why there are such a large number of people wanting to go to America, even though they are well aware of the difficulties awaiting for them there? Girl in Translation is one of the books that can help to answer the above question as it tells the story of Kimberly, an immigrant in America. Through Kimberly, I can see that despite many hardships, an immigrant can still achieve the American dream of a better life through hard work, persistency, and determination. Like most of the immigrants, the first difficulty Kimberly and her mother encountered in America is the language barrier and the culture shock. They arrived from Hong Kong with little English which became a serious problem for Kimberly when she started school. On her first day at school, she could not understand what Mr. Bogart was saying, he was angry at the things she did not understand, he thought she was a cheat and gave her a zero (25-27). Kimberly must have been very afraid and humiliated. Back home at Hong Kong, she had been the top student of her class, she was used to receive praise and prizes from her teacher, but now, she thought that she was “a stupid student with a weight on [her] heart”. The American culture was a far cry different from Kimberly’s culture. She was taught to show respect to the teachers by sitting straight with hands folded behind her backs, standing up when spoken to and addressing Mr. Bogart sir. However, these gestures are not common in...
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