Stabilizing a Cultural Imbalance Essay

Stabilizing a Cultural Imbalance Essay

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The United States (US) is often described as a “melting pot” in which many different cultures coexist in one unified country. Over time, many people have immigrated to the US, bringing their cultures with them. Immigration occurs for reasons such as religious acceptance, economic opportunity, safety, and the pursuit of a greater life. The many immigrants now residing in the United States often settle together in areas that form their own discrete mini-cultures, in such neighborhoods as Little Italy, Chinatown, and Boston’s North End. Although many choose to keep their culture, some immigrants choose to assimilate, or adapt fully and completely, to their new culture. Others compromise and maintain an equilibrium somewhere in between. The question then becomes whether or not the US should force immigrants to assimilate into American culture, or whether it should allow them to retain their own culture more. In Richard Rodriguez’s memoir “Aria,” Rodriguez describes his childhood as strained primarily because of the discrepancy between his private Spanish-speaking home life and his public English-speaking external life. His choice was to fully assimilate, dropping his native language and culture entirely. But ideally, our culture should urge immigrants to retain their own cultures, while also encouraging them to learn to adapt to the current American culture, such that they are able to communicate within the private, intimate, familial culture as well as the public environment outside it.
Assimilation, or the merging of one culture into another, is highly encouraged for several reasons, including the simplicity of living in a society with similar beliefs and traditions. Tomás Rivera, author of “Richard Rodriguez’s Hunger of Memory a...


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... cultural heritage.



Works Cited
Rivera, Tomas. “From ‘Richard Rodriguez’s Hunger of Memory as Humanistic Antithesis.’” Making Arguments About Literature: A Compact Guide and Anthology. Eds. John Schilb and John Clifford. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2005. 523-524. Print.
Rodriguez, Richard. “Aria.” Making Arguments About Literature: A Compact Guide and Anthology. Eds. John Schilb and John Clifford. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2005. 512-522. Print.
Saldivar, Ramon. “From ‘Chicano Narrative.’” Making Arguments About Literature: A Compact Guide and Anthology. Eds. John Schilb and John Clifford. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2005. 523. Print.
Villanueva, Victor, Jr. “From ‘Whose Voice Is It Anyway?’” Making Arguments About Literature: A Compact Guide and Anthology. Eds. John Schilb and John Clifford. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2005. 525-526. Print.

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