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Courage Of Immigrants In Mary Jane Auch's Ashes Of Roses

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In 1911, 146 people die in the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire. Months before, shirtwaist workers, mainly immigrants, marched on strike for worker’s rights, a true testament to their courage. In Mary Jane Auch’s historical fiction novel Ashes of Roses, the courage of immigrants is the heart of the story. The book follows the young protagonist Rose Nolan, an Irish immigrant coming to New York City. She meets challenges after challenge as she navigates her new life in America, while also making new friends such as Gussie Garoff. The characters Rose and Gussie define courage through their resilience, unwillingness to back down, integrity and sacrifice. Rose is courageous when she decides to take control of her own life. When she’s told by her mother she must go back to Ireland, she refuses. “I had never openly defied my parents before...But now I had no choice. I couldn’t make myself go back to Ireland” (Auch 111). Standing up to your own mother takes a great deal of bravery. Rose does this without a shred of doubt because America, and the opportunities it gives her, is so important. Rose’s mother then tells her she’s being foolish, and Rose says “This means a lot to me, and I’m arguin’ either. I’m just stayin’. And that’s final” (112). Rose is relentless in pursuing what she wants and is resilient against her adversaries, including her mother.…show more content…
During the Triangle Fire, she spots a woman struggling to escape the flames and says, “Go on, Rose. I have to help her” (206). Gussie doesn’t survive the fire, even though she could have saved herself. Instead, she sacrifices herself to try and save a total stranger, one of the bravest things anyone can do. Later, a friend of hers comments on this, “Why did always put others before herself?” (241). Throughout her life, Gussie had helped others to the point it hurt her. But for her, helping others wasn’t an option, it was an
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