The American Dream In Hester Street And The American Dream

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Throughout U.S. history, immigrants have struggled to find a balance between the adoption of American culture and the preservation of their native cultures. While many immigrants near the turn of the 20th century desired full assimilation into American culture, like Jake from Joan Micklin Silver’s 1975 film Hester Street, many immigrants today maintain strong ties to their home countries and native cultures. But, considering the recent increase in political and social discussion surrounding the topic of immigration, the struggle to balance American and native customs has intensified for many immigrants. While some tightly cling to their ethnic identities as a reminder of their roots, others fear xenophobic sentiments or simply desire a new culture, more quickly adopting an Americanized lifestyle. Whether open to assimilation or not, many immigrants, like Jake, hope to attain the “American Dream”. A vision shared by millions of Americans, both immigrants and native-born, the “American Dream” represents the ability to work hard and achieve success for oneself, regardless of status, wealth, race, or creed. This search for success in America has happened for hundreds of years, and is literally the reason the nation was established. Overall, there are countless ways for immigrants to find a balance in adopting American culture and achieving the American Dream, topics not only heavily dealt with in Hester Street, but also relevant to the immigrants of today. As immigration to the
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