Immigration to America

State Standards

  • 3.0 Students read and respond to historically or culturally significant works of literature that reflect and enhance their studies of history and social science. They conduct in-depth analyses of recurrent themes.
  • 3.5.c Analyze recognized works of American literature representing a variety of genres and traditions: Evaluate the philosophical, political, religious, ethical, and social influences of the historical period that shaped the characters, plots, and settings.
  • 3.8 Analyze the clarity and consistency of political assumptions in a selection of literary works or essays on a topic (e.g., suffrage, women’s role in organized labor). (Political approach)

Project Summary

The immigration essay was completed shortly after we finished reading Sinclair’s The Jungle. This project was taken on as multi-subject essay with a purpose of bringing together our lessons in US History about turn of the century life in the slums and accounts of life in the slums of the characters of The Jungle. We interviewed someone we knew who had recently immigrated to the US and compared the situation and circumstances of their immigration to those of men and women a century ago. This information was synthesized into a two to three page essay that detailed both immigration stories and their comparisons.

What I Learned

From this project I learned how a few of my fellow classmates came to America. Their stories show how much better off America has become since the days of Durham’s Meatpacking and other century old industries. If I could have redone this essay however, I would probably have elaborated a bit more. Some of my explanations and descriptions were terse and too brief in my opinion, no matter how I scored.


I have to admit however, that it was immensely interesting learning the memories and experiences that an immigrant, one of my good friends no less, has when coming to America. While I am the child of a first-generation immigrant, it doesn’t nearly measure up to being raised in my ancestral home as Dinali was. Her experiences in Sri Lanka will stay with her forever, in the form of spoken language, and friends that are still there.

The Essay