GE2115 America: Peoples and Cultures of the United States
Literature Critique 1
America is a land of hope and opportunity. ‘American Dream’ is ethos of the nation and rooted in every Americans’ heart. The desire of freedom, prosperity and success represents an upward social mobility. It attracts people from the entire world to come. In the past, Europeans who were worn down in their home countries came and started a new life. Recent decades, immigrants are mostly from the third world to seek a better life.
To fit into the new environment, they would have to encounter so many problems. They might be discriminated. They might experience culture clash. The idea of ‘integration’ is highly regarded these days because it can help reducing frictions and lead to a harmonic society. However, you can't ask the majority to change for the small group of people, you can only ask ...view middle of the document...
In his point of view, assimilation was the fastest and the most straightforward way to be a part of the community.
Bonasera would probably say, ‘Sure… wait… hang on. NO WAY!’ The man narrating at the beginning of the film was a typical immigrant who believed “hard work pays off in success”. He had the ordinary American Dream and he had tried his best to integrate into the Society. However, he was raised in Italy and the values built in his mind could not be easily wiped. The deviation in the understanding of justice from the judiciary forced him to find the Godfather eventually.
Don Vito Corleone, aka the Godfather, would speak, ‘You don’t have to.’ His American Dream mainly concerned materials and power as the fruits of success. He came to the country and started his business. You don’t have to connect with others, others would come to find you if you have money and power. He had preserved his Italian culture well like holding a big party which was buzzing with excitement for his daughter’s wedding. He also retained Sicilian morals as he saw family the most important in one man’s life. One of his quotes was really impressive: ‘A man who doesn’t spend time with family can never be a real man’. Also, he refused to take family photo without his rebellious youngest son, who lived a rather different life from the family.
From the experience of Bonasera, we can know that no matter how hard you try to assimilate, there is a bottom line that you would not give in. Bonasera was not a conservative man. He was open minded to live as other American. He got a proper job; he allowed his daughter to make a local boyfriend; he relied on the judicial system to seek justice. In the end, he failed. The justice in the judge’s mind was not the justice in his mind. This had ruined his fantasy on America.
Michael, the youngest son of Vito, was another example. He shared the same thoughts with the little boy in Assimilation. He stayed away from the family business. He joined the military like many other ordinary US kids would do and he was doing good. He had done his very best to make himself an American.