Bonjour à tous, j'espère que vous allez bien. Je passe mon oral de Langue Vivante Approfondie (LVA) ce jeudi 1er juin, et j'aimerai que vous jetiez un coup d’œil à ma dernière synthèse s'il vous plaît, pour voir si il y' a des fautes à corriger et est-ce que vous pensez que mon travail est bien, merci d'avance.
So, today, I’m going to talk about the notion of Spaces and Exchanges. First of all, I would like to give a definition of this notion. This notion deals with the geographical and symbolic areas that all societies occupy and the interactions between men and different societies. The different cultural, economic, sociological and language interactions have shaped and characterised our modern-day world. To put the notion into perspective, we’re going to speak about the immigration in the United States, and attempt to answer the question: Melting Pot or Salad bowl: To what extent has immigration in the US been successful? To answer this question, I will illustrate my arguments with 3 documents: a document entitled "Immigration experience: now and then" and who contains 2 articles that come from the Internet, then, a short story published by David Cho in April 2001 about Sung Jong Chang’s immigration, and finally, my personal document is the song “America” from the musical West Side Story, produced by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim in 1957.
I will speak about the topic along three lines. First, I will talk about the fact that the United States is the nation of immigration, then, I would like to give an example of immigration in America, the story of Sung Jong Chang and her family and finally, I will speak about the problems which can be encountered by immigrants nowadays.
To start with, I will explain that the United States is a nation of immigration. During their first century, the United States presented itself as one of the most welcoming nation. Immigration has been the historical foundation of the American nation. The United States is the only major world power today that owes its existence primarily to the phenomenon of immigration. Line 7 “America is a nation of immigrants is an incontrovertible fact”. Some people immigrate to the United States because they want more job opportunities and better conditions of life. In some cases, people migrate with the knowledge or hope that more opportunities will be available to them in their particular field than at home. At the line 15 “Immigrants do come to America to have a better life and for jobs especially the ones with hard labor”. People come from four corners of the world to have their American dream. They are ready to leave everything to start a new life. Line 3 “a massive stream of humanity, speaking every language and representing every religion, nationality and race, crossed every ocean and continent to reach the United States”. They also come in the United States to have a better opportunity in education and for a better life with their family. Some immigrants are important for the good development of the society. Line 29 “the presence of so many aliens is a powerful testament to the attractiveness of America”. The official policy on immigration only began after the American Revolution, in the late eighteenth century. Several groups of people have immigrated to the United States, such as the Irish, the Germans, The Africans etc... These several waves of immigration shows that the United States is a nation of immigration.
The song “America” is like a dialogue, an interaction between boys and girls, they answer each other. On the roof, Puerto Rican immigrants meet together, women and men are opposed in their vision of America, their host country. Anita defends life in the United States, which is easier. For women, United States is the dream country and it totally denigrates Puerto Rico. Girls give an image of the economic and social difficulties of Third World countries, lands of emigration. At Lines 3-6 “Always the hurricanes blowing, always the population growing, and the money owing”. They see the United States as a promised land, this country symbolizes the American Dream, where everyone can succeed and live happily. At Line 10 “I like to be in America” and line 8 “I like the Island Manhattan”. They feel good in America, because freedom holds an important place in society. Line 12 “Everything free in America”, At the Line 31 “Here you are free and you have pride”. Girls love consumer society and the American Way of Life. Line 14 “Buying on credit is so nice”, Line 16 “I have my own washing-machine”, Line 19 “Cadillacs zoom in America”. American society is based on equal opportunities. Every American is convinced that if he works hard, if he follows a vocational training, if luck smiles at him, he will earn money and be able to live happily. Line 24 “I’ll get a terraced-apartment”, line 33 “free to be anything you choose”.
America continues making dream: many immigrants believe they can find a better life there. These documents can be related to the myth of "Melting Pot". Melting Pot is when immigrants have different nationalities, different languages, religions, ethnicities but they assimilated and melted together to form a new community. They don’t keep their traditions but they form a homogenous society. America has traditionally been referred to as a “melting pot”, welcoming people from many different countries, races and religions, all hoping to find freedom, new opportunities and a better way of life. In the song, at the Line 38 Anita said to Tony “You forget I’m in America”. This sentence shows that girls have already forgotten Puerto Rico, they really feel American.
We will now see if it is always easy to integrate well into the United States. For this, we will study the story of Sung Jong Chang.
Sung Jong Chang’s story take place in Fairfax City in the United States. Sung Jong Chang is a Korean immigrant. At the line 18 we learn that she has been living in America for a dozen years “Twelve years after arriving in the United States”. We also learn at the second line that she is a hardworking woman “works seven days a week in the family’s restaurant business”. She has two children: a boy, John Kim, who has 16 years old and a girl, Sun Mi Kim, who has 18 years old. Sung Jong Chang has come to America to have a more comfortable life because she grew up in a Korea devastated by war. Her parents had little food or money. When she immigrated in The United States in 1988, she said, she was determined that her own family would not face the same deprivations. On the one hand, we can be said that she achieved her immigration, because she lives in better living conditions with her children and she has a good job, at the line 37 “Yes the restaurants have afforded their family a better life” but on the other hand, we can be said that her integration within the American society is not achieved, because she does not speak the language. At the line 3 “speaks almost no English”, there are no exchanges between her and other citizens. At the home, she watches Korean television and videos. At the work she speaks Korean with her friends and colleagues. There is also another problem in Sung Jong Chang's life, is that communication between her and her son is difficult. Unlike her, he is well integrated into American society. He arrived in the United States when he was very young and so he quickly adapted to this new society. Line 9 “John, However is 100 percent Americanized. His friendships, his classes at school, his tastes”. Sung Jong Chang and John Kim don’t know exactly what each other thinks of feels because they don’t speak the same language. Sun Mi, Sung Jong Chang’s daughter, try to bridge the gap between these two generations which don’t understand each other. At the line 23 “Translating nearly everything that passes between them, even their shouting matches.”
Sung Jong Chang's life can be related to the myth of "Salad Bowl". Salad Bowl is when people lived into the society but keeping their own identities. In the salad bowl model, different American cultures are brought together, like salad ingredients but don’t form together into a single homogenous culture. Each culture keeps its own distinct qualities.
After studying Sung Jong Chang’s story, we will see now the problems which can be encountered by immigrants nowadays.
In the first document, we can see that the immigration have their consequences, as each new wave of immigrants reached America, they were faced with problems: lines 9-10 “the problems of getting along with people of different background and habits”. Despite the fact that several categories of people have immigrated to the United States, they are quickly devalued because of their nationality. At the line 10 “Throughout the history of America, myriad groups have welcomed and scorned immigrants at the same time”. Now days the immigration issue raises concerns of assimilation, bilingualism, multiculturalism, economic and national security: lines 31-33 “Americans of every generation have been frightened that newcomers would subvert established customs…” Since the election of Donald Trump in the United States, undocumented immigrants, especially the Mexicans, no longer feel safe. Some have immigrated to this country from a very young age and, following this news, they are afraid of losing their American life, which they have a long time to build. Line 10 “The first thought I had is that I have done everything right and I is all going to be taken away from me”. The Americans control borders because they are afraid of terrorist attacks and they do not want that illegal immigrants includes the country.
In the song "America", unlike girls, boys have another perspective on immigrant life in the United States. The homesickness touches many immigrants, who do not succeed in being made in the American model. Line 39 “I think I’ll go back to San Juan”. Ethnic minorities benefit not the same rights as the citizens Americans. They are sometimes victims of racial segregation. Line 25 “Better get rid of your accent”, Line 13 “For a small fee in America”. Poverty touches especially ethnic minorities, which cannot use material assets, in that they do not have access, for lack of money. Line 15 “One look at us and they charge twice”, Line 29 “If you’re all white in America”. The boys also speak about the strong shortage of accommodation. Immigrated populations are often parked in of true ghettoes, and live in a big precariousness. This situation encourage urban acts of violence. Line 21 “Twelve in a room in America”, Line 23 “Lots of door-slamming in your face”, line 35 “Everywhere grime in America”. Them excluded from the American model are many. It is the face hidden from the American dream. The ethnic communities are the first ones to be endured from this exclusion: They want the equality of rights. Moreover they underline the violence of American society and the fact that you must fight to get anything you want.
To sum up, I would like to say that the question of immigration is part of the American culture, and as cannot be aside. Melting pot or Salad Bowl? From all times, people have immigrated to the United States, seeking for a better and easier life. If this new life is somehow better, it is not always easier. Obstacles are numerous and only the strongest or the luckiest can survive. Some of them manage to live the American dream, becoming important personalities, but the majority only struggles to survive and lose or have to give up essential parts of their lives specific living conditions of the undocumented Americans.