Small Strangers

1210 Words5 Pages
Small Strangers: The Experiences of Immigrant Children in America, 1880-1925

Jermarcus Bounds
History 527-101
October 2, 2016

Small Strangers is a comprehensive study of the historical account and experiences of immigrant children who migrated to the United States between 1880 and 1925by Melissa R. Klapper. Klapper’s ultimate objective is the analysis of the life-cycle of immigrant children from childhood through adolescence by incorporating the nineteenth and twentieth century theme of Americanization and acculturation. Small Strangers introducesa wide spectrum of ethnicities arriving during periods of American immigration from various foreign countries. She delves into the experiences and identities that immigrants assumed, rather
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However, Small Strangers embodies several weaknesses that should be called to attention.Klapper alludes to the gradual but
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3Melissa R Klapper., Small Strangers: The Experience of Immigrant Children in America, 1880-1925(Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 2007), 16.
4Ibid., 113. expansive changes that occurred in America during the years of the Great Depression and Americans views on race. Klapper states, that "Immigrants who had been caught between two worlds during their own childhood now cast their lots on the side of Americanization, regardless of how they might have negotiated their own identities as children and adolescents"5. Klapper does not provide evidence or historical accounts of this notion as she so evidently provided in other parts of the book. This lack of primary sources, or examples to validate the willingness of immigrants to choose Americanization as a last resort during the Depression era and post-war America was well noticeable. In my opinion, Klapper’s strategic use of personal accounts with the social problems of immigration helped the reader to better capture experiences that the immigrants faced. Even though, Klapper continued in her task of accounting the evolving study of immigrant children, and their experiences; Chapter 5 most heavily relied on statements and rather the detailed stories
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As we see in Small Strangers and the lectures, Jane Addams played a pivotal role in facilitating a less aggressive movement towards Americanization of mostly immigrant women. Also noted in the late nineteenth century was the gradual urbanization of cities because of the influx of immigrants from other countries. For instance, in Small Strangersand the corresponding lecture “The Rise of the City”, most native-born Americans found urbanization and the influx of immigrants appalling because of the social problems that manifested in major American cities. The middle-class culture and consumer culturehad major influences overimmigrant children’s lives. This impact is noticeablewhen we
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