Picture Bride

Topics: Japanese American internment, United States Constitution, Immigration to the United States Pages: 5 (1919 words) Published: July 25, 2005
Immigrants arriving in America for their first time are initially devastated at their new lives and realize their "golden lives" were simply fantasies and dreams of an ideal life in America. Immigrants from foreign countries, including those mentioned in Uchida's Picture Bride, faced countless problems and hardships, including a sense of disillusionment and disappointment. Furthermore, immigrants and picture brides faced racial discrimination not only from white men, but the United States government, as well. Immigrants were plagued with economic hardships lived in deplorable living conditions. Though nearly every immigrant and picture bride who came to America fantasized about an ideal life, they were faced with countless hardships and challenges before becoming accepted American citizens.

When an immigrant from a foreign land comes to America, immigrants hope to fulfill their golden dreams in the land of the free; however, as they quickly learn shortly after they arrive in America, their new lives are filled with hardships and disillusions. A picture bride, who arrives in America with a dream of living with a wealthy, successful, and handsome young man, is frequently disappointed to discover the realities such as the appearance and lifestyle of her future husband. When Hana first meets Taro, she discovers that "[Taro] no longer resemble[s] the early photo [his] parents sent [Hana]…he was already turning bald" (Uchida, 12). This shock of reality is not uncommon to picture brides, in fact, "many men in America send pictures to picture brides of themselves from when they were ten to twenty years younger…next to a beautiful car—owned by their boss" (Bunting, 1). Picture brides and immigrants arrive in America filled with hopes for a better life for themselves and their children and a wonderful new life in America. The shock and dissatisfaction immigrants and picture brides experience when they first arrive in America greatly contribute to their change in attitude from an optimistic mindset to a cowardly, hesitant behavior. Furthermore, picture brides quickly discover that their husbands were not wealthy business owners, as the men claimed in their letters, but their husbands were rather poor men, trying to scrape a living, and this reality check contributes further to immigrants' hopeless outlook to their new life. Hana is stunned at seeing her husband's shop, after visioning it as a grand shop on a busy street, discovering the shop to be not "nice at all. It was drab and dirty and smelled of stale food…[one] would expect something a bit finer" (Uchida, 34). Hana becomes disheartened as her visions were shattered by reality and a sense of betrayal from her husband's lies. She, like many picture brides and immigrants, expected too much of a new life, and when she discovers the way things really are, she feels deceived and dismayed. Accepting the truth and the reality of their new lives is a part of an immigrant's experience in moving to America and is a crucial part in shaping their attitudes in their new lives.

Once an immigrant becomes situated with their new life styles, the foreign immigrants are introduced to a sense of hatred and discrimination omnipresent in society. Many Americans and white men were not welcoming towards alien immigrants and expressed a great deal of discrimination and hatred. Immigrants and their families realized they had to learn to accept this hatred if they wanted to live in America, and eventually taught themselves to be tolerant towards discrimination, without knowing a motif behind a white man's disgust towards immigrants. Hana was able to accept the discrimination and eventually passed down her tolerance and acceptance down to, her daughter, Mary, who learn to submit to a white man's intolerance. Mary became aware that "her Japanese face denied her certain privileges…when she went to the City Plunge, she was told ‘We don't think you'll enjoy swimming here'" (Uchida,160). Immigrants that...

Cited: Uchida, Yoshiko. Picture Bride. California: McDougal Litell, Inc. 1971
Bill, Rebecca. Japanese American Internment. www.encarta.com. 4 May 2004.
Bunting, Samuel. Japanese Relocation Centers. www.infoplease.com. 4 May 2004
Ross, Teresa. Field Work and Family Work on Hawaii 's Sugar Plantations. www.litencyc.com. 4 May 2004
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