Emigration and Immigration in Literature Questions and Answers

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What positive and negative aspects of the immigrant experience did Anna Maria Klinger describe in her letters home to Germany?

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The immigrant experience can be a dialogue between personal agency and acculturation—the desire to seek a better life while dealing with the challenges of adapting to a new culture. Immigrants in the United States have expressed this experience through various forms of communication, including the process of learning English, letters, social clubs, works of art, diaries, and dreams. The documents generated from these events and organizations provide students with a unique archive through which to examine US history.

Anna Maria Klinger’s letters to her parents provide a firsthand account of personal experiences and social observations during a significant wave of German immigration to the US in the nineteenth century. While she could find jobs as a domestic worker with other German families, Klinger discovered that learning English was the path to better employment. In her letters, Klinger expressed the need to learn English through immersion in English-speaking environments instead...

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