Abstract For Paper

Immigration and the United States have a long history with one another and are intricately intertwined. The United States as we know it was founded on immigration of Europeans to North America–eventually displacing many of the aboriginals that lived here. United States is often referred to as a melting pot with regards to immigration and it is never far from conversations of political discourse. In our political climate now, the issue of Latino immigration into the US is a widely debated one. But what is rarely ever addressed in the mainstream is the experience of immigrants and hyphenated Americans in this environment. Through the study of texts and videos by and of various peoples of Latino descent, I read about the often difficult experience of being an immigrant in the United States and of self-identity and how it is determined by hyphenated Americans living in this type of “border.” Despite being considered a “melting pot,” the American experience is not a light undertaking or an easy one. I found that many immigrants and hyphenated Americans are caught between assimilation and keeping strong the connections to their motherland and oftentimes they face language barriers, racism and socioeconomic issues that influence their view of America and of themselves. This is a study of the immigrant experience and self-identity through the evaluation and discussion of various texts by Latinos from a range of periods and countries. In particular we will look at Nuyorican poets, the film Immersion, Richard Rodriguez’s Aria, among many other works.

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