A Checkered Past: America’s Melting Pot

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Running head: A Checkered Past: America’s Melting Pot

A Checkered Past: America’s Melting Pot

According to Sociology.about.com a melting pot, “is a concept referring to a heterogeneous society becoming homogenous with the different element “melting together” into a harmonious whole with a common culture” (Crossman, 2015). The issue with the notion of viewing society as a “melting pot,” is that the viewpoint fails to recognize the importance of preserving cultural difference within a society. Within a “melting pot,” there is a right and a wrong, with those going against the cultural norms being wrong. For example, in various African nations polygamy is a cultural norm, as it was once viewed as a sure way to build a successful empire. Fast-forward to today’s society where many Africans come to the United States to try and provide a better life for their families. However, polygamous living is strictly banned in the United States, as it is in most westernized societies. Often, individuals are forced to give up ties to native cultures in order to fit into a particular society. This is exactly the case in The Melting Pot, a play by Israel Zangwill. After surviving a pogrom, an organized massacre of a particular ethnic group David Quizano, one of the plays key characters, makes the tough decision to break his ties to Judaism for the sake of becoming American. This paper will examine Zangwill’s 1908 play and how transitioning into a society can lead to a loss of cultural identity.

A Checkered Past: America’s Melting Pot Set in New York, at the height of European immigration to the United States, Zangwill’s, The Melting Pot, tells the story of a Jewish immigrant’s journey to the United States. David a self-educated musician escapes a pogrom, an organized massacre of a particular ethnic group (Merriam-Webster), in Russia that claimed the lives of his…...

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