Tag: immigrants

American Novels That Wonderfully Encapsulate the Immigrant Story

Although the American story went through some stops and starts in the past four years, it is still one of the world’s most significant cultural melting pots.

You can find people from virtually every corner of the planet finding their way to the United States to make a new life for themselves and their families.

These fantastic American novels work to encapsulate those stories in unique and touching ways.

What Are the Best American Immigration Novels?

1. Behold the Dreamers

This novel introduces the reader to a Cameroonian family where the husband becomes a chauffeur for an executive at Lehman Brothers. When things fall apart because of the Great Recession, you’ll find that the drama creates a beautiful story about perseverance, love, and grace from an authentic American perspective.

2. Americanah

You’ll find one of the best contemporary characters in American immigration literature in this story. It follows a Nigerian woman who comes to the United States on a scholarship. Her significant other encounters troubles with government policies, so you’ll get a frank take on what people face in today’s world.

3. The Book of Unknown Americans

What makes this novel a must-read item is its structure. Instead of following one story, you’re getting to know several voices who all speak in the first-person to you. It’s a place where you can see blatant racism, hate, and hope – all on the same page.

4. Ha Jin

This story introduces us to Nan Wu, who came to the United States after the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989. After making America their permanent home, it becomes a story about one person’s search for meaning and a place in this world. How can you identify with your culture while living in a different country?

What are some of your favorite books about immigration that you’ve picked up to read over the past year?

Why Culture, Diversity in America, Defines Our Nation

America is a nation of immigrants. Long before the modern visa process and multiple steps required to become an American citizen, you would agree to board a ship and make a long journey across the Atlantic or Pacific. Wherever you landed, you could make your home.

The original settlers of America came from all around the world. Early on, Asian and European immigrants made up a large portion of those early settlers. Over time, more diverse people came ashore. The country would not have been anything without the people who chose to migrate to the United States of America and help build it to what it is right now. 

Not that all things were perfect. North America was already settled by native peoples. Early European settlers were largely responsible for the destruction of these people and their lands. Native Africans, too, suffered and were exploited after being taken from Africa to be owned by white-slavers.

In time, all of these diverse and different racial and ethnic backgrounds have left a mark on the culture of the country. Some things have changed, while other problems still persist. Even today, many disagreements start due to bigotry and ignorance between people of differing ethnic and cultural backgrounds.

That is one reason why the term “melting pot” is used to describe America. For example, walk down the block in New York City, and you will find people from every race and ethnic background. There is good in this, but as we often find this does often lead to ugliness when one group of people see themselves as better or more deserving than others.

Where other countries have a small number of outsiders and immigrants, America is the only single country which comprises of immigrants in a considerable number. Not only did these immigrants move the country, but they also played a vital role in economic and social growth, new ideas, innovations, stability, and better opportunities for all. 

Of course, many people will find that they inevitably assimilate to those around them, taking up how those around them speak, eating habits, clothing, religion, and so on. So much fills the same bucket that what it even means to be an “American” has no single definition.

What can be said is that for the United States of America it is important to respect every individual living in America is part of a collective that wants to make this land and the entire world a better place.