Assimilation and Resistance in The Joy Luck Club and Bread Givers

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Stage three of the immigrant narrative is quite similar to the minority experience, especially when dealing with discrimination and exploitation. However, a demarcation exists between the immigrant and minority experience where assimilation is concerned. These narratives veer from each other for several reasons: the social contract with America in regards to the American Dream and the ability of immigrants to become acculturated before assimilation can take place. Therefore, after analyzing numerous immigrant and minority texts a trend takes place whereas immigrants are more able to overcome stage 3 of the narrative more easily, whereas minorities are not. Faith and belief in the American Dream can be directly related to the ability to assimilate into the dominant culture. For the purpose of this paper, the American Dream encompasses a mythic, almost religious, vision of America. In "2G," perhaps Sonia Pilcer says it best. "America! Everyone chanted the magic word of passage" (202). The symbol of the Dream entails embarking on a journey to the "Promised Land" or America, working hard in the ‘free’ country, and realizing a measure of success not available in the old world. This narrative gets complicated when dealing with immigrants and minorities. The symbols of America, such as the Statue of Liberty, interweave themselves into the American Dream concept. Primarily, it is the consistent faith in the Dream and the different social contract with America that enables immigrants to be more successful at assimilation than minorities. The belief in the Dream in the face of discrimination and alienation is common in the immigrant narrative. It should be noted, however, that true assimilation for the immigrant typically does not t... ... middle of paper ... ...ture." New Immigrant Literatures in the United States: A Sourcebook to Our Multicultural Literary Heritage. Ed. Alpana Sharma Knippling. WEstport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1996. 44-65. Krupnick, Mark.. "Jewish-American Literature." New Immigrant Literatures in the United States: A Sourcebook to Our Multicultural Literary Heritage. Ed. Alpana Sharma Knippling. WEstport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1996. 295-308. Pilcer, Sonia. "2G." Visions of America Personal Narratives from the Promised Land. Ed. Wesley Brown and Amy Ling. 4th ed. New York: Peresea Books, 1993. 201-206. Tan, Amy. The Joy Luck Club. New York: Ivy Books, 1989. Yezierska, Anzia. Bread Givers. New York: Persea Books, 1999. ---. "Soap and Water." Imagining America Stories from the Promised Land. Ed. Wesley Brown and Amy Ling. 8th ed. New York: Peresea Books, 1991. 105-110.

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