Transitioning To America

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The flood of immigration in the early 1900s created a country where cultures from around the world were being blended with americanization. Jewish and Italian immigrant women in the late nineteenth century moved to New York, and practiced cultural coalescence in their transition to America. Cultural coalescence is taking multiple cultures and blending them together into one. This blending includes keeping old traditions, creating new tradition, and a mixture of new and old. These women learned how to blend their old traditions in Europe with new traditions in America. Old traditions such as motherly roles and responsibility in the family were kept, but new traditions such as housekeeping without land was created in America. Some old and new …show more content…

In their homelands in Europe, these women made everything by hand. Their food, clothes, and even furniture, were all handmade. They lived in rural towns with small farms to grow their own crops with livestock to provide food and materials; “the land and its products were the source of life” (Ewen, 31). Transitioning to America meant they would be buying all of life 's necessities now. They no longer had land to live off of, but rather instead small tenements. Everything was now mass produced and sold. Their homes, transportation, water, food, clothes, furniture, were all purchased in moving to America. To some this was a lavish privilege to eat food out of a can and to wear clothes they have to make. Immigrants were amazed walking down the street, “Greenhorns who shopped in the market streets saw bananas for the first time, in addition to new kinds of mops, pots, and kitchenware. Advertisements showed new products; canned food, soap, toothpaste, modern sewing machines, furniture, and clocks of all varieties. For the fact was that industrial urban America was busy transforming material life, substituting machine-made products for those once produced by hand” (Ewen, 64). Others hated this new America where all the fresh air was gone and they spent all their time indoors. One Italian women said “‘Where are the green fields and open spaces in America?...All about me was the harshness of brick and stone and the stinking smell of crowded poverty’” (Ewen, 61). Jewish and Italian women had to develop new tradition into housekeeping because they now had to buy all of their necessities. The old traditions of their home country would not support them anymore, they had to adapt and change their

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