Immigrants In The 1800's

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Imagine moving from your home country to the United States, essentially starting over, where you have to make a living and adjust to the new people and culture. There are multiple struggles that immigrants have to overcome when coming to America. Immigrants had to get jobs to support their family and stay in America. They had to adjust to society and try to fit in with everyone. Also, making the decision whether to adjust to American ways or stay close to the life they maintained in their old country was tough. Multiple passages from O Pioneers and “Old Rogaum and His Theresa” show the hardships of immigrants in the 1800’s.
Life in America would be easier if immigrants had an easier time to make a living. It was not easy to make a living for
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In O Pioneers, Alexandra and her family are immigrants. Her brother Emil has a hard time fitting in in the village. “He always felt shy and awkward here, and wanted to hide behind things for fear someone might laugh at him”(6). Emil is in the town at this time, and he is just an immigrant country boy, so he is different than everyone else and might not know other people besides his family. Emil’s mother has a tough time adjusting to life in America as well. “She missed the fish diet of her own country, and twice every summer she sent the boys to the river, twenty miles southward, to fish for channel cat”(19). Mrs. Bergson can not adjust to the diet that most people have in America, so she tries to stay with the fish diet she was used to, even though it is tough for her family to supply the fish. Mr. Rogaum in “Old Rogaum and His Theresa” is not a perfect English speaker as shown in this quote where he is shouting and perplexed by what is going on: "'Ach, Gott!' he cried aloud, almost shouting in his distress and excitement. 'Theresa, vot iss dis? Wilhelmina, a light now. Bring a light now, I saw, for himmel's sake! Theresa hat sich umgebracht. Help!'" (958). Mr. Rogaum is a German immigrant, concerned about his daughter's actions and decides to lock her out. An injured prostitute is lying on his doorstep, and Mr. Rogaum freaks out thinking it is his daughter. It is hard to communicate with other …show more content…
Much conflict between traditional and American ways comes between first generation immigrants and their children. In “Old Rogaum and His Theresa”, Theresa, daughter of a German immigrant has a different idea than her father when it came to relationships: “"He wanted Theresa to pick some nice sober youth from among the other Germans he and his wife knew here and there"(955). Theresa wants to hang out with Connie, an American boy that she likes. She wants to embrace America and it’s people so she can fit in. Her parents on the other hand, want her to have relations with people they knew back in Germany, because they are not huge fans of the American culture and want to sustain their German ways. Another example in this short story is how the girls socialize with the boys in America: "...the girls had an urgent desire to be out in the street together after eight, and to linger where the boys could see and overtake them”(952). Like the latter example, Theresa really has a desire to be American and fit in. She is fine with dropping her German heritage to be “cool” kid, and adjust to the new culture. O Pioneers features examples of preserving old ways of live. Mrs. Bergson, Alexandra’s mother wants to preserve as much she can of her old life. “Habit was strong with Mrs. Bergson, and her unremitting efforts to repeat the routine of her old life among new

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