Representation of Immigrants in Literature Criticism: Immigrants And Labor - Essay

Ronald T. Takaki (essay date 1979)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Takaki, Ronald T. “The ‘Heathen Chinee’ and American Technology.” In Iron Cages: Race and Culture in Nineteenth-Century America, pp. 215-40. New York: Knopf, 1979.

[In the following excerpt, Takaki discusses the manner in which literature depicting stereotypical Chinese laborers influenced American attitudes towards them.]

A surplus labouring population … forms a disposable industrial reserve army, that belongs to capital as absolutely as if the latter had bred it at its own cost. … [I]t creates, for the changing needs of the self-expansion of capital, a mass of human material always ready for exploitation. … The industrial...

(The entire section is 11906 words.)

William Gleason (essay date 1993)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Gleason, William. “Re-Creating Walden: Thoreau's Economy of Work and Play.” American Literature 65, no. 4 (December 1993): 673-701.

[In the following essay, Gleason examines the influence of the influx of Irish immigrants on Thoreau's writing. Gleason finds that Thoreau's anxiety about immigrants and how they might change the character of the nation is reflected in his varied, sometimes contradictory treatment of Irish characters in Walden.]

It is in obedience to an uninterrupted usage in our community that, on this Sabbath of the Nation, we have all put aside the common cares of life, and seized respite from the never-ending toils...

(The entire section is 11714 words.)

Beth Maclay Doriani (essay date 1997)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Doriani, Beth Maclay. “New England Calvinism and the Problem of the Poor in Rebecca Harding Davis's ‘Life in the Iron Mills.’” In Literary Calvinism and Nineteenth-Century American Women Authors, edited by Michael Schuldiner, pp. 179-224. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 1997.

[In the following essay, Doriani argues that Davis's story of the immigrant poor took its readers beyond the widespread opinion that the poor were responsible for their own poverty to what Davis considered a more Christian worldview.]

In 1857, a group representing New England's cultural elite founded what would become the nation's most prestigious magazine of its day: the...

(The entire section is 10872 words.)