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Faculty Sponsor

Zoja Pavlovskis-Petit

Abstract

Beginning with the early days of American literature, this work explores where the immigrant narrative has existed, and what said narrative may look like. When reading immigrant literature, there are typically three or four themes that present themselves among the immigrant characters and their community. Those themes are: a feeling of nostalgia towards, or affinity to the culture and of the immigrant’s home country, the theme of inclusion or exclusion by the larger society in the new country, and the theme of resilience, that is, how immigrants overcome adversities and bounce back challenge after challenge. A novel in particular where these themes present themselves is in Willa Cather’s, My Ántonia. Although this is a novel that has those aforementioned themes in it, what makes it uniquely “immigrant,” is also the attitudes and responses among the community to the arrival of the Bohemians. Those attitudes are something that nearly all immigrants become familiar with. With that being said, there is a duality in the immigrant narrative, where not only is there exposure of specific themes that make it that narrative, but also a response among the townspeople in this case, that reflect an immigrant experience.

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