New Immigrant Literatures in the United States: A Sourcebook to Our Multicultural Literary Heritage

New Immigrant Literatures in the United States: A Sourcebook to Our Multicultural Literary Heritage

New Immigrant Literatures in the United States: A Sourcebook to Our Multicultural Literary Heritage

New Immigrant Literatures in the United States: A Sourcebook to Our Multicultural Literary Heritage

Synopsis

During the last 50 years, writers from immigrant groups have greatly enriched American literature. This reference overviews immigrant literatures in the United States since World War II. Previously underrepresented immigrant literatures, such as Pakistani-American, Korean-American, and Mexican-American literatures, are given special attention, and contributors discuss women's writing whenever possible. Each chapter provides a thorough historical and critical discussion and extensive bibliographical information.

Excerpt

When the Golden Venture, a ship smuggling Chinese men and women into the United States, was grounded in June 1993, it provoked a resurgence of the national debate about U.S. immigration policy and, in the pages of popular American newsmagazines, the pros and cons of allowing immigrants, whether legal or illegal, into the United States. So far, the cons seem to outweigh the pros. Time's coverage of the ill-fated Golden Venture event portrayed the Chinese immigrants as having voluntarily subjected themselves to bestial conditions, "crammed into the filthy hold of a ship for months at sea" (Church 26). It went on to render Mexican illegal immigrants in almost rodentlike language, as "sneak[ing], run[ning], and tunnel[ing] across the frontier in numbers far greater than the border patrol can possibly control" (26). The ambiguous victory of Proposition 187 in November 1994 in California, which favors the withdrawal of state-level aid from illegal immigrants, certainly reflects many American people's growing disenchantment with what they perceive as an open-door, welfare- state image of the United States. According to a July 1993 poll taken by Newsweek, while 59 percent of Americans consider immigration a good thing for the country in the past, compared to 31 percent who think it was bad, 60 percent believe that today immigration is not good, compared to only 20 percent who believe it is still good; further, only 20 percent think that the United States is still a "melting pot" (Thomas andMurr 19). Pessimism about the national economy, coupled with an impatience at the apparent ease with which immigrants can cross the U.S. border and take up minimum-wage jobs that most Americans would shun, makes immigration a volatile topic, a devil's cocktail, indeed, of controversy and debate. A fitting subject for such debate and a case in point is the radical Islamic cleric Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, whose name . . .

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