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Rachel-K
Posts: 1,495
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Immigration

 

How do outsiders view this family and other immigrant families? What impression do you get from the official letters about the deed to the land, or the brief mentions of neighbors and shopkeepers throughout the novel?

 

Do you have family stories of immigration?

 

 

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dhaupt
Posts: 11,832
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Immigration

The community view these and the other immigrant families as beneath them, as dirty and smelly as something lower than human even.

 

The mentions of the neighbors during the land squabble was that they didn't want to interfere, perhaps they thought that it would come back and bite them in the but. 

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AliceLee428
Posts: 19
Registered: ‎07-09-2009
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Re: Immigration

Many outsiders do not treat the immigrants with respect.  Some try to take advantage of the immigrants' inability to speak English.

 

I felt that the officials in the land dispute matter were behaving professionally and appropriately.  It was basically a "He said..." / "She said..." dispute and the officials seemed to be doing their best to determine who was telling the truth.

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Shadowwolf36
Posts: 76
Registered: ‎09-16-2008
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Re: Immigration

Though not unusual and not a huge distance like this family but my family immigrated to the states from Canada. When I first moved here, I spoke no English and neither did any others in my family. My dad and mom understood some English because they were both raised in border towns but we all knew that we had to learn English in order to make it and be understood.....that was 42 years ago....I don't think we were looked down on because my parents were hard workers (well mom was LOL) and we didn't move here just to be given something for free AND there was alot of immigrating going on between border towns so they were mostly used to it.

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emmagrace
Posts: 162
Registered: ‎12-04-2008
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Re: Immigration

I think that the immigrants are unfairly judged. Their neighbors seem to view them as pond scum. They are considered thieves and not worth anyone's time. I guess they never heard or understood they they should not "judge a book by it's cover".

 

They may be poor, but they work very hard to make their lives better! I wonder if their neighbors could say the same of themselves?

 

The land department did not seem to care who received the rights to the land. They would have liked both of the families evicted. This angered me to no end! I think that if a person does the work on the land and has built a home for his/her family, then the land should be theirs!

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edelweissAM
Posts: 19
Registered: ‎01-31-2009
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Re: Immigration

The immigrants were unknown to the local families. What we do not know we fear! Perhaps in time, they would have been accepted. It is hard to get to know other people when you are busy every moment trying to survive.
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cmmn
Posts: 29
Registered: ‎07-02-2009
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Re: Immigration

I think the neighbors and townspeople look upon the immigrants as inferior.  They spoke a strange language and had different customs. (Thinks haven't changed much) The shopkeeper tried to pay Maria a poor price for her vegetable because he thought she wouldn't understand that he was cheating her.  She would accept his first offer and ultimately receive a better price.   The land office officials seemed to think both families were not telling the truth and didn't want to get involved in the dispute.

My ancestors came from Norway in the 1880's.  The Norwegian immigrants tended to settle in groups so a whole area would be new or previous immigrants from the same country or even the same area of the country.  

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booksJT
Posts: 108
Registered: ‎11-24-2008

Re: Immigration

The outsiders didn't want to get involved because they were worried about repercussions later. Some neighbors try to take advantage of immigrants by using their lack of English against them. I think the land officers acted professionally because it was a he said she said. They should have tried a little harder to get the matter settled. Theo had no real proof that he worked the land. If Anna had been a better sister the ending would have been a lot different.  

 

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momoftwinsMM
Posts: 31
Registered: ‎06-11-2009

Re: Immigration

I think Immigrants in general are looked down upon. Their inability to speak the language, "strange" customs make them seem inaccessible and perhaps uncivilized. And there is also the fear that they will "take all the good jobs..." I always find it amusing that people would like immigrants to go back to their "own" countries, selfishness allowing them to forget that some ancestor of theirs was an immigrant to Canada. My parents immigrated to Canada from India in the 70's. My mom had to retake her nursing exams but faced discrimination at a lot of places (even though she had work experience, and a good grasp of the english language). Her name is anglicized, so when she would go for an interview, many were stunned to see an east asian woman--more than once, she was told that the job had been filled when she arrived for the interview.

  

In the case of the story, I think that the officials were trying their best to sort out the land dispute which had become a case of he said/she said between Teo & Anna. I didn't catch any sarcasm or underhandedness (maybe b/c it was a dispute between 2 immigrants?).

 

But we do see how the shopkeepers try to take advantage of the language barrier and provide a payment that is much lower than what should be expected for healthy crops. 

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Immortal-Spirit
Posts: 143
Registered: ‎03-16-2009

Re: Immigration

The outsiders look down on this family and the other immigrants.  The remark from the grain buyer and his friend could have been made in this day. Also, it seemed the shopkeepers was trying to take advantage of their ignorance-(lack of understanding the english language)-to rip them off and pay less for quallity goods. 

 

I was disappointed at how the neighbor said both families we not to be trusted. It didn't seem like the Unkranian community stuck together.  I'm not sure if that was out of fear of being targeted or just because they didn't care. 

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JaneM
Posts: 152
Registered: ‎02-01-2008

Re: Immigration

Our image of the Teodor’s family near the end is one of joy, togetherness, and enough to keep them through the winter.  Myron is enjoying splitting wood; Ivan piles it up; Dania drapes the trees with freshly washed bedding; Sofia has cleared paths to the outbuildings, and the family ends in a snowball fight.  The spaciousness of their new house hints at prosperity yet to come.  Teo has built a sled and is taking Maria to a party.  But when the  police arrive, we see the house and the children through their eyes. “They are thin, with the wide sunken eyes of the malnourished.  Their clothes are dingy.  The shack smells musty and reeks of garlic and lye.  A young girl has a too-short skirt and stained blouse.”  These images contrast sharply with the picture we had before.  Which is the reality?  Is the image the police sees correct, or is it colored by the fact that these are immigrants? 

 

I think that the more you know people, immigrants or otherwise, that you develop a blind eye to external lackings and see to their hearts.  And that is exactly what Shandi has done - taken us to the heart of the family and we have seen the beauty and are not colored by any preconceived perceptions or prejudices.

 

Jane M. 
Jane M.
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Zephyr_Marie
Posts: 8
Registered: ‎07-08-2009
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Re: Immigration

I think in general there was a lack of respect for immigrants and they were thought less of because they could not speak English.  I found myself frustrated for the family at times because you could see how they struggled and how hard they worked and the attitude from the shopkeepers - especially when it came time to sell the grain - was just one of disdain almost.
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Deltadawn
Posts: 311
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Immigration

well said, momoftwinsMM!

 


momoftwinsMM wrote:

I think Immigrants in general are looked down upon. Their inability to speak the language, "strange" customs make them seem inaccessible and perhaps uncivilized. And there is also the fear that they will "take all the good jobs..." I always find it amusing that people would like immigrants to go back to their "own" countries, selfishness allowing them to forget that some ancestor of theirs was an immigrant to Canada. My parents immigrated to Canada from India in the 70's. My mom had to retake her nursing exams but faced discrimination at a lot of places (even though she had work experience, and a good grasp of the english language). Her name is anglicized, so when she would go for an interview, many were stunned to see an east asian woman--more than once, she was told that the job had been filled when she arrived for the interview.

  

In the case of the story, I think that the officials were trying their best to sort out the land dispute which had become a case of he said/she said between Teo & Anna. I didn't catch any sarcasm or underhandedness (maybe b/c it was a dispute between 2 immigrants?).

 

But we do see how the shopkeepers try to take advantage of the language barrier and provide a payment that is much lower than what should be expected for healthy crops. 


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Tarri
Posts: 457
Registered: ‎02-26-2007

Re: Immigration

This is a very interesting question and I think that immigrants are still looked down upon today.  Before I moved to where I am living now, I lived in a neighborhood that had several subsudized housing units.  These units were families who had emigrated to the United States from Russia and the Ukraine.  The children spoke English, but most of the women did not and the women made no attempt to immerse themselves in the neighborhood.  

 

In Under This Unbroken Sky, Maria refused to allow the children to speak English and insisted they speak in their mother tongue.  While I can understand her reluctance to have her children lose their heritage, by not learning English she was isolating herself from the community and that would make it harder to be accepted. 

 

That being said, people in general are reluctant to accept what they don't know.  

 

 

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Zeal
Posts: 258
Registered: ‎03-18-2009

Re: Immigration


Tarri wrote:  

 

That being said, people in general are reluctant to accept what they don't know.  

 

 


Often true, but very sad.  Wouldn't the world be a much better place if more people were willing to accept differences and not make untrue assumptions about others?

"I learned to dream through reading, learned to create dreams through writing, and learned to develop dreamers through teaching. I shall always be a dreamer."
Sharon Draper
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jbnie
Posts: 40
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Immigration

Sadly the reaction to the families as immigrants was the same in the 1930's as it is now in the 21st century. The grain operator tried to cheat Theo when he went to sell his wheat, today farmers try to cheat immigrant farm labor on wages, health care and housing. Nobody at the schools that the children went to noticed that they were malnourished and probably under clothed, The children didn't exist for the townspeople. The only time that that Stephan was given any credence was when he was willing  to turn in his brother in law in for a few pennies, then the cops believed him because they wanted to have the immigrant families fit the stereotype that they had about them. It's really a shame that nothing has  changed all that much over the course of time. :smileysad:

rkubie wrote:

 

How do outsiders view this family and other immigrant families? What impression do you get from the official letters about the deed to the land, or the brief mentions of neighbors and shopkeepers throughout the novel?

 

Do you have family stories of immigration?

 

 


 

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melisndav
Posts: 37
Registered: ‎06-16-2009
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Re: Immigration

How do outsiders view this family and other immigrant families? What impression do you get from the official letters about the deed to the land, or the brief mentions of neighbors and shopkeepers throughout the novel?

 

It appears that the outsiders view the immigrant familes as the outsiders.  They cannot do better than someone who lives in the town that has been there and established.  It would take away from them.  They appeared to be somewhat snobby.  When the wildfire happened, it just so happened that one of the outsiders' farms was unharmed, that was a little bit too much of a coincidence that something horrible happened to the immigrants (in this case, Theo's family) and his neighbor's farm was completely safe.  Also it was mentioned in the paper that the outsiders farm survived but there was no mention on Theo's loss.

 

Do you have family stories of immigration?  Everyone has to have some type of stories from immigration at least somewhere along their family blood line.

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misslynn
Posts: 28
Registered: ‎07-18-2009
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Re: Immigration

In the story immigrants were treated second class. They had to really press to get a decent price for their crops. today, many immigrants get benefits like healthcare and education even if they are illegal. They have special programs in school to help immigrant children achieve. Still, many people get irriated and angry with immigrants. Especially now that our economy is suffering, immigrant play scapegoats for many of the issues that are taking place.
gl
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gl
Posts: 128
Registered: ‎12-18-2007
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Re: Immigration

I'm a little behind and haven't yet read the official letters regarding the land.  But as others have mentioned, the shopkeepers to whom Anna sold the vegetables and Teodor sold the grain offered low and unfair prices that they would never have tried on someone that they knew.  The merchants would classify the goods as lower quality than they were as a way to pay less.

 

I found it sad but very effective when Shandi Mitchell would describe Teodor, Myron and Anna from the point of view of the townspeople.  Myron, Teodor, and Anna seemed so competent and noble but when seen by the townspeople they sounded so different.  I loved how Shandi Mitchell did this.

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Lildove3
Posts: 96
Registered: ‎02-05-2008
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Re: Immigration

It's plain as day the outrsiders of this family has no idea what it's like

to start from scratch. Some might say well it's like moving to another state,

try coming to a country without speaking a word of English and having nothing

to start with.   The letters from the officals were just doing what they thought was right.