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Analysis Of Hester Street And Babbitt Essay

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Assimilation in Hester Street and Babbitt Identity crises are common problems for immigrants coming into any country. Deciding whether to stay true to their roots or to assimilate to a new culture puts pressure on many immigrants and their families. Both Jake and Babbitt, from Hester Street and Babbitt respectively, define what means to be American on superficial terms, even though they both believe that being an American does not merely stem from racial identity. They both become obsessed with being as seen as Americans through their social status, physical appearance, the pursuit of wealth, and freedom. While both Jake and Babbitt try to assimilate to American culture, only Babbitt truly succeeds in achieving this goal. Babbitt and Jake both believe that achieving a higher social status will make them more American. To Jake, social status is very much tied to the accumulation of wealth. He berates Mr. Bernstein for making less than he does each week. He prides himself on having more wealth than other in his home country and some of his fellow workers. Jake, however, never actively tries to climb the proverbial social ladder. To him, wealth and social status are one and the same, so he tries to achieve both through the pursuit of wealth. Babbitt, on the other hand, has a much more diverse thought process when considering the relationship between himself and his social status. He knows the difference between accumulation of wealth and social status, and while he already
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