Joan Micklin Silver John A. Gutowski - Essay

John A. Gutowski

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[The Immigrant Experience: The Long, Long Journey] has two goals. The first is to dramatize a slice of American immigration history as reflected in the experiences of a Polish peasant family upon their 1907 arrival to the New World. The second is to provoke discussion of success and self-fulfillment in relation to the American Dream. Though cut ethnographically thin, the film achieves its first goal in evocative dramatic scenes that powerfully convey the ordeal of assimilation throughout most of the footage. To accommodate the second goal the film requires two awkward devices: a narrational voice-over and a final contemporary scene, both of which express the American Dream but weaken the dramatic impact of the...

(The entire section is 595 words.)