Immigrants in our own land
It is very difficult to adjust and live by a new set of rules from one day to another. That second where an immigrant cross’ a border to an unknown country, is the second that changes everything. But why is it so difficult to grow accustomed to a totally new life?
The poem ”Immigrants in our own land,” is a text about the immigration that took place at Ellis Island near Manhatten, where a lot of immigrants passed between 1892 and 1954. The poem is a so-called chopped-up prose. The chopped-up prose does often describe a course of events, which can also be seen in this particular poem.
The narrator is an immigrant. It is obvious because he uses expressions such as “myself,” “we,” and so on. It is a subjective narrator, which makes the poem very authentic. It can be seen that the main character of the poem is a guy due to ...view middle of the document...
He explains and expresses how it is to live behind bars and how an average day goes by. He uses a prison cell to describe how the life in prison is very similar to the immigrants’ way of living. He compares his “cell” to his old neighbourhood. As it is written in the poem: “Just like it used to be in my neighborhood: from all the tenements laundry hung window to window”(p. 187, l. 26-27) It is not only him, but many immigrants felt like prisoners in their own land. When they first arrived to America they were held in a room where they were giving clothes and new personal papers. They did not had many opportunities; only the opportunities America gave them. His way of comparing America to a prison helps the reader understand how the immigrants felt like and underlines his opinion – the United States of America is not a very welcoming country. He describes the big picture of America between 1892 and 1954.
The immigrants had huge expectations to how their new life in America would turn out. They were looking for better days but that was not what they found. “I look down and see new immigrants coming in, mattresses rolled up and on their shoulders, new haircuts and brogan boots, looking around, each with a dream in his heart, thinking he’ll get a chance to change his life”(p. 187, l. 36-42) The immigrants came to America as homeless people, seeking a new place to live. They got stamped as immigrants. By their new haircut, and the characteristic boots, people knew who they were, which made it very hard for them to start up a new life.
One of the themes in the poem is “immigration to another country”. The difficulties of adjusting to an unfamiliar country and creating a whole new life in a very short amount of time are some of the main focus points in the poem. The moment you cross the border to another country, you have to adjust your life to the new surroundings, which can often be a problem. It is difficult to forget all norms and human values and then live by a new set of rules, compared to what you are used to.