It is no doubt that immigration to any country on the planet has got its pros and cons. America has not been left behind, too as it has benefited on one hand, and on the other was ramified negatively. On a positive note, many immigrants have played a positive role in shaping the rich American culture and civilization. These highly ambitious and exponentially talented immigrants have been a factor in putting American civilization on the world radar and today many people feel envy the kind of civilization America has. American songs, movies, fashion, styles dominate the world culture in high magnitude; this would not be possible in absence of immigrants’ efforts. On the other hand, immigration, especially illegal, has been seen as a threat in many dimensions to American interest, especially security. Some of the radical means identified to cause influx of illegal immigrants in America are: illegal border crossing; extended stay upon expiry of visa or Border Crossing Card (BCC); drug smuggling, majorly from Mexico; identity theft (William, 2002).
It is evident enough that current immigration issues have prudent correlation with what was envisaged in the novel. In America today industrialists support current trends of immigration for its cheap labor, ethnic lobbies recommend it for broadening their political base and participation, religious activists as well as humanitarians look at it as interns of ethics and human rights. More specifically, there are some immigrants who have been forced to flee the harsh regimes in their countries and turn to America as the last resort. Such benefits are well captured in the novel. The novel is highly dominated by people who migrated to America to succeed in life, hence promoting the American dream. Mrs. Shimerda, for instance, is reported to have left her country with her children to pursue American dream; even against the wishes of her husband. Anton Cuzak is also identified as running away to Nebraska to completely erase the bad memories that have hindered his growth in the past. What this means is that just the same way immigrants like Shimerda considered America to be a land of opportunities, so does that zeal remain up to date, occasioning the current immigrant influx (Meyering, 2002).
There exists significant correlation in terms of the use or application of the word “Difference” in the novel and current difference in the rights of immigrants. As a matter of fact, there have been outstanding issues in the rights of immigrants leading to frequent changes or introduction of several legislations to help to address the imbalance. In line with this different evaluation formulas have been designed to weigh the authenticity of immigrants to be with their families, finding asylum from repressive governments, seeking better living conditions among others. Indeed, such differences in rights of immigrants have elicited a myriad of public debates with no formidable solution found, since different forces are in play with genuine concerns. But despite the current differences being genuine, those in the novel were clearly prejudiced, segregated in terms of gender, nationality and class. For instance, even before arriving in Nebraska, Jim Burden is harshly welcomed by prejudice against foreigners; Jake believes foreigners are disease vectors and as such Jim is a syndrome carrier (Meyering, 2002).
The novel depicts fundamental immigration patterns in the history of America. In the entire world America has stood to be a safe haven for many people, and as such it has experienced steady inflow of immigrants from all walks of life. This has partly been attributed to economic ideals of America permitting economic prosperity. American immigration pattern has experienced variations over the years. During the colonial periods in America’s history immigrants were majorly from northern Europe; this changed drastically when America got itself involved in revolutionary wars of 1770s. The period of 1840s-1850s again witnessed dramatic increase in the number of immigrants from Europe with Germany and Ireland leading the pack. These two countries experienced a devastating crop failure which by that time was the backbone of their economies. Hence, America was their only solution to recover from such mega loses. Despite Europe dominating immigration levels to America in the early periods, things have not remained the same to date. Current statistics indicate that immigrants to the US come from all parts of the world, courtesy of the nationality quota was introduced in 1965. Therefore, almost all cultures of the world have a stake in immigrant population in America today. Immigration patterns can be seen from characters such as Lena who was a Norwegian, Otto, an Austrian and the Robinson family from Switzerland (Michael and Jeffrey, 1996).
Turning to Willa Cather’s Nebraska, its population is said to have swollen to quadruple levels in the period between civil war and 1880. On the same note, the period of 1880s-1890s dealt a big a blow to immigrants of the great plains of Nebraska. This was necessitated by the low prices for farm commodities and a subsequent harsh drought in the mid-1890s; this actually made the success being chased by the immigrants unattainable. Consequently, at the time Cather was busy coming up with “My Antonia”, immigration rate to the Great Plains was experiencing sharp decline while that to urban remained steady as it was always. In fact, being a newspaper woman and an editor for one of the radical magazines in Pittsburgh and New York City, Cather witnessed face to face the myriad conditions immigrants lived on, and the speculative fear that immigrants’ arrival dealt a blow to natives’ economy by providing cheap labor (Meyering, 2002).
The novel can be used extensively to explain my family history. Generally as many immigrants, my grandparents too were on a mission to make their lives successful by being incorporated in the American dream. Although they might have been victims of circumstances and prejudice of the time, I would say that it was a worthy undertaking as I can now boastfully continue with that same urge and dream. Although the exact location or rather exact country of origin for my forefathers cannot be located, history suggests they are one of the slaves who came to work on American plantations. As such, my family history has a stake in the development of America to where it is currently.
Q Road - by Bonnie Jo Campbell.
Q Road is considered by many readers as exceptionally outstanding novel that blends the past with the present and future lives of the people of Kalamazoo County, Michigan. The novel is about love story that has happened within a short period of time between May and December; this love is sweetly augmented and characterized by feelings of expectation, mystery and Native American mystique. Rachel Crane who is one of the outstanding figures in the novel lives with her mother Margo in a houseboat which is not theirs but they are living as tenants of George Harland. This old man has indeed suffered a great blow when his wife left him to keep his farm alone in the face of declining productivity (Becky, 2003).
Rachel and her mother Margo are both depicted as being excessively antisocial, and Margo extends this disorder by shooting George’s younger brother Johnny. She does this on account of finding him together with her daughter Rachel. Rachel herself has never known her father, and it is likely that Margo has deep seated hatred for men, something that might have prompted her actions. The climax of the novel begins from George’s desire to marry the strange girl Rachel who tactfully accepts his proposal so that she would be able to get “his damned piece of land,” which she feels is rightfully entitled to being hers as she’s got Native American ancestry (Becky, 2003).
Indian presence in the novel is resolutely manifested. The novel clearly elaborates that the land in KalamazooCounty was inhabited by the Potawatomi Indians who faced the real wrath of evictions. In fact, Indian presence is much more revealed through an omniscient speaker who gets in the course of the story to give resounding facts of the land’s natural and unnatural pasts. It is through him that the novel captures the heinous migration of caterpillars to be replaced by English sparrows. More so, Indians’ presence is authoritatively specified when the writer tells of George’s ancestors living side by side with the Indians. This presence goes ahead to shape the thinking of some protagonists in the novel. Rachel, for instance, is subjected to some abstract forces which haunt her after she is narrated to a story of an Indian girl who worked on the similar piece of land and instead of being married to a man, decided to commit suicide. The girl’s main reason for taking her life was to avoid ceding ownership rights of her land to a man. It is therefore without doubt that the history of Kalamazoo is not complete without mentioning of Indians presence (Becky, 2003).
Gender is one of the central themes of the novel. From chapter one to the end, gender chauvinism has been manifested. This has been pronounced more in the property ownership such as land. For instance, the novel documents an Indian girl who committed suicide for fear of transferring her land ownership right to her husband in marriage. This is just one of the challenges that women face in Kalamazoo. Rachel as a protagonist character sees no avenue of acquiring her own piece of land except by getting married to an old man at his late fifties. She was not in love with George, but with his land; this reveals the levels of prejudices against women of Kalamazoo (Becky, 2003).
Family History of Work.
In the same way other immigrants were coming into America at a time when industrial growth was on the rise; my forefathers too found themselves working in the industries and sugar cane plantations, according to histological likely scenarios. Indeed, they had no substantive education that could enable them to get white collar jobs and therefore they had to do remotely compensated jobs such as industrial cleaning, digging and operating simple industrial machines that would befit their heard earned experience. The exact job or profession they got engaged in is silent based on non-availability of reliable sources. But it is believed they had no standard job and would occasionally move from one job to another. Therefore, on grounds of unavailability of reliable data, it has been difficult to pass my forefathers’ information to subsequent generations of the family.
Oral History on Work.
An oral submission made by people with insight on the developments of work force for immigrants in America seems to converge on one point; it is better now than it used to be. They all allude to the fact that many immigrants from the 1890s to late 1960s had no substantive education that would warrant their complete involvement in the mainstream American jobs, they were therefore left to do the jobs which were demeaning to Native Americans. But all in all to the immigrants like my forefathers, this was better compared to what was happening to other countries facing economic crisis. Continuous changes in legislations made it better for the immigrants as time went by. This happened in the same time with the continuous struggle by blacks for full recognition of their rights just as the whites. Through such development, it became apparent that immigrants received an access to a proper education in American schools, colleges and universities. Importantly, some oral submissions believe that immigrants’ contribution to the success of American economy is powerful beyond quantification.
Occupy Wall Street Movement.
Wall Street movement has been hailed as the latest wave that rejuvenated the already dead labor unions in America. For instance, labor statistics show that private sector unions have been dwindling in terms of membership, whereas their public sectors counterparts are facing intense heat of blame for being responsible for budget crises. To stay well above the allegations, organized labor unions shifted their efforts to creating some of the best organizing conditions. To achieve their new development, trade unions contributed significantly towards Democratic Party campaigns by pouring a lot of billions only to be met with the opposite of a miracle. Instead of holding the unions’ wish President Obama discarded the Employee Free Choice Act, something the unions were really banking on (Memoli, 2011).
The birth of Occupy Wall Street was seen as a reprieve to the trade unions that were breathing in despair. It fundamentally shifted the whole labor debate from the usual austerity measures to inequality. This is seen as the genesis of creative engagements which sparked taking of serious risks that normal labor unions would not dare. Consequently, the movement gained a lot of sympathy and support from labor quotas; 99% of labor unions adopted Occupy ideals and began to work under it (Memoli, 2011).
Now, looking at the past labor conditions or labor unions of the 1890s-1920s when our forefathers were the mainstream work force, we see that a lot has changed. It would be justifiable that people, who required much of the services of Occupy Movement, were our forefathers who worked hard for long hours just to be given nonmatching remuneration. All in all, their continuous struggle for better terms of service has got a bearing to what led to the sprouting of Occupy movement; all of them have a common denominator of better terms of service (Memoli, 2011).
Status of Labor Unions.
The status of labor unions has undergone considerable changes in recent years compared to what it was as early as 1920s. Reasons for such dramatic changes are obvious, as the world labor market undergoes intensive innovations through technology and recognition of rights that never existed before. In the past the major goal for labor unions was to advocate for increased working conditions and recognition of labor rights which were not vocal in those days. Currently the meltdown in major economies has made it difficult for employers and governments at large to meet the ever rising demand for super services by the laborers. Therefore, the emergence of movements like Occupy Wall Street is just but a manifestation of the tricky situation employers are in. But it is to be realized that even labor unions have to be rational enough and make demands that don’t put employers on uncertainty. Otherwise it would not be business as usual and many employers would opt to outsource cheap services from the developing nations where labor charges are low (Cameron and Brian, 2000)