Ewen's Immigrant Women in the Land of Dollars Essay
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Ewen's Immigrant Women in the Land of Dollars Throughout history, the concept of Americanization has been studied in order to better understand the effects of a mass culture on immigrants. On one side stands the view of an immigrant engulfed in American ideology who leaves behind his past. He conforms to this new individualism and now is able to move upward on the economic ladder. On the opposite end of defining Americanization is the unscathed immigrant who maintains his old word traditions and institutions to emerge…show more content…
The struggle and isolation were forgotten for a moment as "new immigrants found ways to maintain culture and create community" (Ewen, 226). As many Americans looked on with disapproval, there still arose a clash between parents who wanted to preserve the traditions of the old country while the younger generation wanted desperately to assimilate. This division appeared in issues such as love and marriage, dress, and social behavior. Even as different views developed between the older and younger generation, many social events remained traditional with the ideals that were common in the Old Country.
There were many kinds of recreation, however, that involved the whole family and were enjoyed by both Italian and Jewish families (Ewen, 214).
For example, immigrant weddings were an important part of social life unlike the trend of elopement in American marriages (Ewen 235). According to Ewen, "weddings were large, festive affairs in which the ties between the couple, the two families and the larger community were sanctified" (235). Since weddings in America were much more expensive, many Italian and Jewish daughters and mothers went without paying for food, rent, or other pleasures in order to fund a wedding. Many went into debt as well, but they found it "worth the sacrifice" (Ewen, 237). This attitude permeated other social events such as christenings, bar mitzvahs, holidays, and funerals.