Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College


English 101 Section B20. Writing About Immigration New York

How did writing capture and come to terms with the mass immigration to New York in the late nineteenth century? How did this influx of the “alien hordes” challenge the language of American writing, and how, subsequently, did this language adapt to condition these immigrant lives? This course will examine how writing both responds to and reconditions human experience by looking at nineteenth century New York writers’ attempts to develop a language that could capture, both in terms of understanding and imprisoning, the immigrant experience. Studying writers such as Walt Whitman, Jabob Riis, Stephen Crane, Emma Lazarus, and Horatio Alger, we will think about how writing strives to both respond to and direct the changing world. While doing this, we will reflect upon how for each of us writing is both a means of communication and a crucial means of self-production and empowerment.