Trans Internet-Zeitschrift für Kulturwissenschaften 16. Nr. Mai 2006

6.1. Modalitäten von Kulturkontakt
HerausgeberIn | Editor | Éditeur: Gertrude Durusoy (Ege Universität, Izmir/Turkei)

Dokumentation | Documentation | Documentation

Mary Antin’s The Promised Land: An Autobiographical Narrative of Hybridity

Günseli Sönmez Işçi (Ege University Izmir, Turkey)


When immigrants come into continuous first-hand contact with the new society to which they move, or are removed to, they try to accommodate their own customs and values to those they encounter in the new culture. This is a phenomenon defined as acculturation, which is not a simple change of cultural patterns but a complex blend of two diverse cultures and traditions. Dirk Hoerder explains acculturation as a process "that implies a gradual withering of old roots while sinking new ones at the same time, a process that often takes place unconsciously" (212). Acculturation is not identical with assimilation because assimilation "implies unconditional acceptance of the values and forms of behavior of the new society" (Hoerder 212). Migrants, however, experience two different phases of socialization. Their first socialization takes place in their culture of origin wherein they develop "a personal identity within the existing structures and value systems" (Hoerder 212). Yet in the new society to which they move they not only have to cope with economic, social and political conditions but also experience conflicts of cultures, languages and memories. This second socialization or acculturation phase forces them into a route of self-invention or self-construction, during which they acquire a new identity, one that may be called a hybrid identity.

Naturally, such a complexity is best conveyed by immigrant writers, especially in their autobiographical narratives, because they provide a "privileged access to an experience ... that no other variety of writing can offer" (Olney 13). Autobiographies, in practice, are the stories of lives and experiences but they are in essence confessions by which the writers narrate their journey of self discovery. Immigrant autobiographies gain a further significance, in this respect, for they become a medium wherein the writers articulate their self discovery and the process by which they construct a new identity as their old roots dry away and new branches blossom in the culture they are transplanted into.

In this paper I seek to trace manifestations of self- creation and implications of a hybrid identity emanating from a cross-cultural encounter; to do so I shall look at an autobiographical narrative by a Jewish immigrant, Mary Antin, who is a native of Polotzk in Russia, and who emigrated to America with her family in 1894 at the age of thirteen. Her autobiography, significantly entitled The Promised Land (first published in 1912), provides a framework where one can delineate the process of acculturation and construction of an identity that results from this phenomenon. Penned by a woman immigrant, The Promised Land, also prompts one to analyze the distinctive features of her narrative in terms of style and content, that separate her from the tradition of male autobiographies.

During the 19 th century many European or Asian immigrant groups were driven to America by harsh political or religious persecution or by economic hardship at home. The Irish, for example, fled from the English tyranny, the Chinese from the ravages of the opium wars, or the Jews from pogroms. For many immigrants, America meant personal fulfillment and material possibilities. They accordingly made bold crossings from many shores of the old world in order to realize their dreams for a better life. For all these people, the Statue of Liberty represented freedom and hope. Emma Lazarus, for example, the daughter of a wealthy Jewish family in New York, illustrated this image in her well known poem 'The New Colossus' by celebrating the monument as the "Mother of Exiles", who "with silent lips" cries to send "the homeless, tempest-tost" to her, lifting a "lamp beside the golden door"(1).

Obviously this description is not accurate, not merely because the statue was not originally built to welcome immigrants, but because the representation of America as a golden door for the "homeless and tempest-tost" did not entirely correspond to reality. America's demand for cheap labor during industrialization was of course a crucial factor which pulled these immigrants to the new world. Furthermore, America, as a land of freedom, and material and personal enrichment, was a vision of how the nation wanted to see itself and how it wanted to be seen by the others. Yet it was also the late 19 th and early in the 20 th century immigrants who crafted such idealized images in their stories. This myth, therefore, was reinforced by a substantial body of fiction and autobiography penned by the immigrants during the period of concern.

Mary Antin's autobiography, The Promised Land , was one such example, for it relates the transformation of a religious Jewish child into an American citizen successfully. Constructing a classic tale of Americanization in her autobiography, Mary Antin not only appealed to the imagination of diverse immigrant groups as a proof of the inclusiveness of the American dream in the beginning of the twentieth century, but also provided an idealized representation "to offset a growing sense of American nativist hostility to immigration" (Solors xv). This explains why, by the time of Antin's death in 1949, The Promised Land had gone through thirty-four editions, some of them special educational ones for public schools with teacher's manuals and student questions. In this context it may be interesting to note that Mary Antin dedicated her autobiography to Josephine Lazarus, who urged her to write an autobiography, and Josephine Lazarus is the sister of Emma Lazarus, the poet of 'The new Colossus'. A remarkable and obvious connection lies here between the Statue of Liberty and Mary Antin's vision of America as the land of liberty, which she relates repeatedly in the course of her narrative.

Mary Antin's individual motivations and expectations, as well as her educational background and linguistic abilities, facilitated her acculturation. It does not follow, however, that her second socialization in America was an unconstrained and serene process ; incorporating the paradox and splendor of simultaneous realities, her autobiographical journey conveys exquisitely the complexity and the dialectical tensions beneath the surface of Americanization. Antin's autobiography, therefore, is simultaneously a success story and a narrative of initiation, transformation, frustrations, guilt, betrayal and identity crisis, in which a double voyage of discovery both outward and inward merge into each other. In her outward journey Antin idealizes a developmental movement from one world to the other by a set of social and historical circumstances, in which she finds herself modernized and emancipated, while in the inward journey the process of constructing a mythology of unrestrained transformation is deconstructed by the author's introspective abilities of self-questioning.

The structure and stylistic features of her narrative display divisions and separations as well as unity and connectedness. As Sollors notes, "one half of the book is set in Russia and one half in America, and while Russia is divided into oppressed Jews and Russians, America is separated into immigrants and citizens" (xxix). It should not be a coincidence that she begins her narrative with a revealing statement: "When I was a LITTLE GIRL, the world was divided into two parts; namely Polotzk, the place where I lived, and a strange land called Russia" (TPL 5). Her childhood recollections disclose walls that are erected between the Jews and the Gentiles or between the boys and girls. She remembers, for example, that "no Jewish boy was allowed to grow up without at least a rudimentary knowledge of Hebrew" (TPL 28), and that he became a hero of the family, and was served before the other children at the table. By contrast, "it was not much to be a girl.... Girls could not be scholars and rabbonim.... A girl's real schoolroom was her mother's kitchen. There she learned to bake and cook and manage, to knit, sew, and embroider; also to spin and weave, in country places" (TPL 29). Mary Antin's memory feeds on many disunited scenes and images in an attempt to restore the past of a little girl who "was used to living in two worlds" (TPL 106).

Yet triggered by an immigrant desire for a united world, her memory simultaneously generates images that bridge her two worlds. She sees the immigrants as "the strands of the cable that binds the Old World to the New. As the ships that brought [them] link the shores of Europe and America, so [their] lives span the bitter sea of racial differences and misunderstandings" (TPL 2). In her recollections, she evokes a vivid canvas of panoramic scenes in Polotzk where roads and rivers connect and unite. "The highroads", she remembers, for example, "wandered out into the country, and disappeared in the sunny distance, where the edge of the earth and the edge of the sky fitted together, like a jewel box, with the lid ajar". Within this little opening she replaces "this bit or that, and coax[es] the edges to fit together" (TPL 69). The Atlantic Ocean, in this sense, becomes a most crucial symbol in her childhood recollections that would part in order to unite her two worlds. As she remarks, "If the waters of the Atlantic did not part for them, the wanderers rode its bitter flood by a miracle as great as any the rod of Moses ever wrought" (TPL 113). The images in this symbolic description alone disclose the divisions in her mind and her attempt to overcome them.

Obviously, there were material factors in her childhood that shaped her mental disposition of doubleness. While the denial of citizen's rights in the pogroms in Russia, including economic hardship and oppressions in her surroundings, defined one world, her neighbors whose faces were turned towards the West inspired another. She recalls the Passover celebrations when they said "Next year — in America", rather than saying "May we be next year in Jerusalem" (TPL 113). Hence, her father, who was also carried away by the westward movement, was a most crucial inspiration that stimulated her childhood dreams. A rough overview of Antin's narrative set in Polotzk offers numerous passages in which she relates her dreams about America. While reading a letter from her father, who had gone to America ahead of his family, she feels "a stirring, a straining". "My father", she says, "was inspired by a vision. He saw something-- he promised us something. It was this "America". And 'America' became my dream" (TPL 114). This account is crucial because it not only seems to be an early articulation of the notion of "the American dream"(2), but also an evidence supporting the view that such a dream was propagated by the letters of the immigrants to their relatives. In another passage, Antin describes how she is haunted by her father's letters and was seized by the immigrant fever:

So at last I was going to America! Really, really going at last! The boundaries burst. The arch of heaven soared. A million suns shone out for every star. The winds rushed in from outer space, roaring in my ears, "America! America!" (TPL 129)

Numerous statements like these in Antin's narrative reveal that to her America meant home, where she would cultivate a spirit of nationalism. She relentlessly tries to convince her readers as well as herself that people who were not born in America could become Americans, a fact which was especially true for the Jewish immigrants who had no national identity before. She conveys this message most clearly with a passage in the chapter entitled 'My Country':

...a little Jewish girl in Polotzk was apt to grow up hungry minded and empty-hearted; and if, still in her outreaching youth, she was set down in a land of outspoken patriotism, she was likely to love her new country with a great love, and to embrace its heroes in a great worship. Naturalization, with us Russian Jews, may mean more than the adoption of the immigrant by America. It may mean the adoption of America by the immigrant. (TPL 179)

One can go on citing many more passages from The Promised Land to demonstrate how Mary Antin ventures to adopt the New World with passion, admiration and gratitude. Yet "the heroine of two worlds" (TPL 282), as she calls herself, reveals her inner tensions by her remark in the introduction of her life story that "everything impressed itself" on her memory, "and with double associations" (TPL 3). She is aware of the fact that she reconstructs her "childhood from those broken recollections only which, recurring to [her] in after years", fill her with the "pain and wonder of remembrance" (TPL 65). Thus, when she looks back, she does so in a way that gives rise to uncertainties. She remembers, for example, deep-red dahlias in a little garden behind her Grandfather's house in Polotzk but laments that she has been told "they were not dahlias at all, but poppies". In an urge of reclaiming the past that was lost, she insists on clinging to her own impression that they were dahlias: "I have so long believed in them", she says, "that if I try to see poppies in those red masses over the wall, the whole garden crumbles away, and leaves me a gray blank. I have nothing against poppies. It is only that my illusion is more real to me than reality" (TPL 66).

This remark provides valid evidence of the collective nature of the migration experience. As Antin notes in her introduction to her autobiography, her life "has been unusual, but by no means unique" (TPL 2). She considers her life typical of many, and thinks that "the chief interest" in her autobiography "lies in the fact that it is illustrative of scores of unwritten lives" (TPL 2). "The Young World", she says, "has taken the Old by the hand, and the two are learning to march side by side, seeking a common destiny" (TPL 2). She consciously or unconsciously describes what is now called acculturation, a process which prompts her to constantly compare her old world with the new. She is "not afraid to live on and on, only if [she does] not have to remember too much" (TPL 3). Yet she does remember and desperately try to elucidate her new world by setting the two worlds in opposition. And trying to cope with crises, her imagination may also shift to speculation, insisting on her "dahlias".

Susanna Egan's observation regarding this phenomenon is telling: "speculation is the only possible procedure and space the only comprehensive dimension in which to imagine it. Distinctions between then and now, before and after, become irrelevant. Causality is never an issue because no event can be identified as the result of another" (153). Egan's analysis of diasporic autobiographies calls attention to space as a fertile ground in which the narrators come to terms with their conflicts, a fact which is central to Antin's text as well. Antin, too, employs a spatial narrative to articulate her conflicts. She constantly shifts to descriptions of spaces, as exemplified above, bringing different locations into dialogic interplay. Her memory, in other words, travels between her original and adopted homelands and creates spaces that coexist in this dialogic interaction.

In the chapter significantly entitled 'I Remember', she describes, for example, her long walks with her father in Plotzk and gives an account of the peaceful scenery replete with delightful recollections:

It was early spring, and the sky and the earth were two warm palms in which all living things nestled. Little green leaves trembled on the trees, and the green, green grass sparkled. We sat us down to rest a little above the bridge; the life flowed in and out of us fully, freely, as the river flowed and parted about the bridge piles. (TPL 71)

Her description of the slums of Boston, where her family settled, is sharply contrasted to this serene panoramic view:

It is no place at all, but a short box of an alley. Two rooms of three-story tenements are its sides, a stingy strip of sky is its lid, a littered pavement is the floor, and a narrow mouth its exit. (TPL 145)

This "wrong end of Boston", where "unkempt, half-washed, toiling, unaspiring foreigners; pitiful in the eyes of missionaries" inhabit, however, present a very different picture to Antin, for when she looks up "to the topmost row of windows", her eyes are "filled with the May blue of an American sky!" (TPL 146). Perhaps such spatial contradictions in her recollections make her remember more dahlias than poppies.

Mary Antin displays the cultural conflicts in her mind by various means, but most clearly by her reflections regarding food, which function as a metaphor laying bare the split in an immigrant mind. "Among the liveliest of my memories", she says "are those of eating and drinking" (TPL 74). She articulates her fulfillment in America by recounting over and over again how she willingly adopts and takes possession of the New World but in an instant of tasting American food or fruit, she remembers the specific tastes of the past that are forever lost. During the cherry season in America, "the sight of the scarlet fruit suddenly" reminds her "of the cherry season in Polotzk", and she deplores the fact that "excellent American cherries" were not "so fragrantly sweet as" her "cousin's cherries" (TPL 75). Her childhood tastes cannot be replaced by the flavor of ripe strawberries in America. The food culture in the New World evokes delightful memories of the past. She "can dream away a half-hour on the immortal flavor of those thick cheese cakes [they] used to have on Saturday night" (TPL 74). Her question to herself and her readers regarding the haunting flavor of Polotzk cheese cake is revealing: "Do you think", she asks, "all your imported spices, all your scientific blending and manipulating, could produce so fragrant a morsel as that which I have on my tongue as I write?" (TPL 74).

As Werner Sollors notes, "no delight in foodways brightens the memories of her American years" (xvi). Her father's American welcoming meal for the family in the kitchen of a gloomy slum apartment in Boston is just food, "ready to eat, without any cooking, from little tin cans that had printing all over them" (TPL 146). She gives the most detailed description of an American way of eating immediately after she expounds on how and why she "considered [herself] absolutely, eternally, delightfully emancipated from the yoke of indefensible superstition" (TPL 196). Such a heightened self-consciousness prompts her to give contrary evidence by recalling her first eating experience in "a genuine American household", the result of which gave her a shock that she "did not get over for many a day". She describes in details the feelings of an immigrant child who tries to look natural, carefully examining others in order to conceal her uncertainty in table manners. All goes well until a platter is passed with a kind of meat that is strange. She is desperately confused, realizing that the strange kind of food she is offered is ham, the "forbidden food". She confesses with a deep agony that she, "the liberal, the free", is afraid to touch it and has "a terrible moment of surprise, mortification, self-contempt" (TPL 196). Furious with herself for her weakness, she forces herself to eat more of the "pink piece of pig's flesh" than the others at the table, but with feelings "only a newly abnegated Jew can understand with what squirming, what protesting of the inner man, what exquisite abhorrence of" herself. So "taking possession of the New World", as she repeatedly remarks, may also mean swallowing undesirable food. Her self-exposure in this regard is profound: "Alas!" she says, "I learned that to eat in defence of principles was not so easy as to talk" (TPL 196).

Such a stark revelation attracts our attention to a remarkable silence in her narrative. While Antin is instructive with regard to the psychological disposition of an immigrant, she does not seem to be as enlightening concerning the undesirable and insecure circumstances in the labor market; the garment industry for example where most of the Jews worked, including her sister. As Dirk Hoerder notes, "Industrial accidents killed and maimed more Jews in Paris, London and New York than pogroms did in imperial Russia" (TPL 221-223). Antin talks, for example, about her sister Frieda who was put to work as a seamstress, and laments that had she been two years younger, "she would have gone to school and imbibed American ideas" (TPL 218) like herself. She claims to be talking for thousands, pronouncing a moral but she falls silent regarding the actual lives of young Jewish women workers and the dangerous and cramped conditions under which they labored in garment factories. Nor does she refer to the fire that exploded in the Triangle Shirt Waist Company in New York in 1911, one year before the publication of her autobiography. One hundred and forty six young workers, mostly Jewish and Italian women, died in the smoke and heat of the inferno. There is no reference either to the strike that erupted in 1909 against intolerable conditions; the women who died in the fire two years later were demanding sanitary conditions and safety precautions.(3)

It might be true that Antin's autobiography is based on her recollections preceding those striking events; they coincided, however, with the period during which she penned her memoirs. Seeking "peace of mind" in a "world full of riddles" (TPL 261), she constantly delves into philosophical inquiries and inward explorations; such a profound inquisitiveness, however, does not inspire her to question the troubles of the garment workers or the racial prejudices against her black neighbors. She is so much "preoccupied with the process of becoming an American" (TPL 259) and creating a new identity, that no question arises in her mind regarding, for example, the oppressions that her black neighbors suffered. She mentions the warm welcome her family received from Boston blacks, but remains silent about the racial problems in her immediate surroundings. In one episode, she talks about a "colored boy" who bullied her, for which her father had him arrested and brought to court. She praises the supremacy of the American system of justice and describes how the accuser and the accused gather in the courtroom, "bearded Arlington Street against wool-headed Arlington Street". She rejoices in the fairness of the process, in which "the evil doer" is punished, "and not the victim, as might very easily happen in a similar case in Russia" (TPL 204). It is remarkable, however, as Sollors notes, that Antin does not stop here "to imagine any possible analogies" (xxxi) between the Jews in the pogroms in Imperial Russia and the Blacks in America at the turn of the century. She is confident that they" were all free, and all treated equally, just as it is said in the Constitution!" (TPL 204).

Myopia like this mars her narrative and throws into question her project of speaking for the thousands, who did not or could not write their stories. This phenomenon could be attributed to her plural identities that coexist simultaneously. Had she not disclosed, as well, her moments of betrayal, remorse, self-destruction, and self-centeredness, her story would not read as it does. She demonstrates such a moment of kin betrayal and regret when she ponders her course of success by education, which was made possible by her sister's sacrifice. She remembers how her father "divided the world between his children in accordance with the laws of the country and the compulsion of his circumstances". Her sister was put to work, therefore, at the age of fourteen, while she was sent to school only one year younger, which confirms the fact that even she and her sister were not treated equally, "as it is said in the constitution." But "on winged feet of joy and expectations", as she admits, she was turned "blind" (TPL 159). Her self exposure here is meaningful; "a decidedly self-centered child", she says, she "took everything from her hand as if it were" her due (TPL 159).

It is significant that this revelation is triggered when she remembers her faith, pride and delight in American institutions on her first day at school. She revisits her past constantly with double associations and "wearily aware that" she is "speaking in extreme figures, in superlatives" (TPL 157). She describes how painful it is to be consciously of two worlds with metaphors evocative of both psychic and migratory experience:

All the processes of uprooting, transportation, replanting, acclimatization, and development took place in my own soul. I felt the pang, the fear, the wonder, and the joy of it. I can never forget, for I bear the scars. But I want to forget - sometimes I long to forget.... The wandering Jew in me seeks forgetfulness. I am not afraid to live on and on, only if I do not have to remember too much. A long past vividly remembered is a heavy garment that clings to your limbs when you would run. (TPL 3)

Despite all the complexities and idiosyncrasies, Antin's spiritual journey is a provocative documentation, relating a double self moving from one culture to the other. To do so she distances herself from the heroine of the events, skillfully masking, for example , her intimate romantic attachments. Her husband Grabau is vaguely present in her narrative, although she wrote her autobiography in the tenth year of their marriage. She implicitly refers to her love, but only by camouflaging it behind her affection for natural history. She writes:

Robert Louis Stevenson, in one of his delightful essays, credits the lover with a feeling of remorse and shame at the contemplation of that part of his life which he lived without his beloved, content with his barren existence. It is with just such a feeling of remorse that I look back to my bookworm days, before I began the study of natural history outdoors; and with a feeling of shame akin to the lover's I confess how late in my life nature took the first place in my affections. (TPL 251)

Yet she leaves this account open ended by relating her immersion into the natural history club where she met Grabau.(4) The fact that her husband is left in the shade of her narrative may be attributed to their problematic marriage and the separation that followed. Another possible explanation for this ambiguity may be Antin's restrictive nineteenth century upbringing. Nonetheless, her reticence to write about her intimate relationship could best be explained by her intention of depicting herself as a public figure, a fact which requires detachment. She opens her memoirs with a portrait of this self detachment:

I was born, I have lived, and I have been made over ... I am absolutely other than the person whose story I have to tell ... I could speak in the third person and not feel that I was masquerading. I can analyze my subject. I can reveal everything; for she, and not I, is my real heroine. My life I have still to live; her life ended when mine began. (TPL 1)

With such a self conscious detachment and a progressive narrative Mary Antin seems to correspond with her male counterparts who have penned their autobiographies. As Sollors suggests, "Antin's memoir may have been inspired by St. Augustine's and Rousseau's confessions" (xii). Indeed, the male autobiographers narrate their life stories progressively "by means of chronological, linear narrative", (Jelinek 17) and they "use various means of detachment to protect and distance themselves from the imagined or real judgments of their unknown audiences" (Jelinek 13).

This stylistic feature of self detachment brings Antin close to the male tradition. Men and women, however, as Jellinek notes, "tend to distance themselves from their material in different ways" (13). Men are likely "to idealize their lives" by monumentalizing their "boyhood and their entire lives"; they, therefore, "often desist from revealing crises of their childhood but [are] more likely to relate adult crises, usually their turning points in their professional lives" (Jelinek 14). This is a mode not directly applicable to Antin's narrative, for even when she projects an image of faith and confidence in her childhood, she disrupts her account by exhibiting an anecdote of repentance, guilt, betrayal or insecurity. Her attempt to render her life coherent, harmonious and whole is interrupted by fragments and episodes typical of the female mode, typical of the immigrant mode as well; for like other immigrant writers, she positions herself "across conflicting cultures, liminal and therefore particularly self-inventive" (Egan 145).

It is exactly this liminality which enables Antin to see with the eyes of two cultures and to narrate simultaneously the public and personal aspects of her life in which she highlights domestic details, family difficulties or people who influenced her, both in her culture of origin and the adopted one. Positioning herself between two distinct realms, she assesses both and embraces the one that gives her more space for self realization. In the chapter, significantly entitled 'The Promised Land', she demonstrates this analysis clearly: "My Polotzk I knew well before I began to judge it and experiment with it. America was bewilderingly strange, unimaginably complex, delightfully unexplored. I rushed impetuously out of the cage of my provincialism and looked eagerly about the brilliant universe" (TPL 143). In her culture of origin, "A girl's schoolroom was her mother's kitchen.... While her hands were busy, her mother instructed her in the laws regulating a pious Jewish household and in the conduct proper for a Jewish wife; for, of course, every girl hoped to be a wife. A girl was born for no other purpose" (TPL 29). As she becomes "retrospectively introspective" (TPL 143), she begins to distance herself from the beliefs and practices of her own community realizing the differences with which boys and girls are treated. The young woman, who did not have an autonomous space even in Jewish community, wants now to be part of American history. She is, therefore, "bound to unravel, as well as [she] can, the tangle of events, outer and inner" (TPL 144). Yet in winning the right to autonomy, she is to engage in a severe battle with her heritage, quite unlike the one experienced by immigrant men.

Writing her life story is a personal salvation for Mary Antin, which she succinctly states in her introduction: "Had I no better excuse for writing, I still might be driven to it by my private needs. It is in one sense a matter of my personal salvation" (TPL 3). Telling her tale works "a charm that should release" her "from the folds of" her "clinging past" (TPL 3). This phenomenon enables her to become " an exception in acuteness of observation" , and to acquire "powers of comparison, and abnormal self-consciousness" (TPL 157) by which she explicitly constructs a public self, characteristic of male autobiographies. But the act of writing might, as well, be read as a challenge to her Jewish heritage, which assigns literary creation solely to men, as well as a means to release her from the boundaries of her mother's kitchen. She thus ventures to take "possession of the New World, [her] ears growing accustomed to a new language" (TPL 75). Her entry into a new language enables her to cross the boundaries for it gives her a voice and provides her with a space wherein she emerges anew as an autonomous, liberated and secular woman. In The Promised Land Mary Antin, thus, enacts a mythic re-birth by a fascinating relationship with language.

© Günseli Sönmez Işçi (Ege University Izmir, Turkey)


(1) See Susan L. Rattiner, ed. Great Poems by American Women: An Anthology. Dover Publications Inc., 1998. Emma Lazarus, The Poems of Emma Lazarus, vol.1 (1889), 2

(2) It is widely accepted that during the years of depression James Truslow Adams, the American historian, coined the term ‘American dream’ in his The Epic of America, which has since become a widely used phrase for the basic lure and promise of America. James Truslow Adams, The Epic of America, New York: Blue Ribbon Books, 1931, pp. 404-416.

(3) See Ronald Takaki. A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1993, pp. 294-295.

(4) See Werner Sollors. ‘Introduction’ In Mary Antin, The Promised Land. Penguin Books, 1997.


Adams, James Truslow. The Epic of America, New York: Blue Ribbon Books, 1931.

Antin, Mary. The Promised Land. Penguin Books, 1997.

Egan, Susanna. Mirror Talk: Genres of Crisis in Contemporary Autobiography. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1999.

Gusdorf, Georges. "Conditions and Limits of Autobiography". In James Olney, ed. Autobiography: Essays Theoretical and Critical. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1980, p. 48.

Hoerder, Dirk. ‘From Migrants to Ethnics: Acculturation in a Societal Framework.’ In Dirk Hoerder and Leslie Page Moch, eds. European Migrants Global and Local Perspectives. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1996.

Jelinek, Estelle C. Women’s Autobiography: Essays in Criticism. Bloomington and London: Indiana UP, 1980.

Olney, James, ed. Autobiography: Essays Theoretical and Critical. Princeton: Princeton University press, 1980.

Rattiner, Susan L, ed. Great Poems by American Women: An Anthology. Dover Publications Inc., 1998.

Sollors, Werner. ‘Introduction’. In Mary Antin, The Promised Land. Penguin Books, 1997.

Takaki, Ronald. A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1993.

6.1. Modalitäten von Kulturkontakt

Sektionsgruppen | Section Groups | Groupes de sections

TRANS       Inhalt | Table of Contents | Contenu  16 Nr.

For quotation purposes:
Günseli Sönmez Işçi (Ege University Izmir,Turkey): Mary Antin’s The Promised Land: An Autobiographical Narrative of Hybridity. In: TRANS. Internet-Zeitschrift für Kulturwissenschaften. No. 16/2005. WWW:

Webmeister: Peter R. Horn     last change: 26.5.2006     INST