Throughout the course of New York City’s history it has been one of the most populous immigrant cities in the United States of America but it’s the only city where immigrants can maintain their cultural identity, ethnic differentiation, and religion. New York City has been the gathering area where immigrants create new lives, relive past lives, and it’s associated with memories. The immigrants of New York City are brought together by family traditions, entertainments, customs, and social differences. There are common hardships that all immigrants have experienced while living in New York City. Despite hardships being in their current endeavors, immigrants will find either nostalgia or resolutions from certain things.
In the movie “Moonstruck”,directed by Norman Jewison it shows various shots of New York City showcasing its beauty and landmarks of Brooklyn, New York, and the Italian lifestyle that has found shelter within the borough. Across the entire film Jewison is seen using the common threads in the Immigrant experience in New York City, which includes low paying wages, menial jobs, overbearing imposing bosses, ethnic differentiation and elucidation, problems breaking away from one’s family, having a first generation primary wage earner, and having patriarchal and matriarchal societal difference.
A scene in the movie where Loretta, Ronny, and his staff are together in his bakery, showcases Ronny meets his breaking point after years of putting of with an low income, family separation, and aggravation because of work pressure which ultimately left him wounded and forgotten. Another common thread of the New York City immigrant experience is patriarchal and matriarchal societal differences. Patriarchal societal differences is seen at the end of the film by the grandfather telling his son to pay for his daughter wedding.
Which culturally displays the responsibilities of the man of the house. Matriarchal societal difference is seen by Rose telling her father in law not to feed his dogs with the food she cooked for him. The grandfather who immigrated to America was the first wage earner for his family meaning he needed to pursue a practical lifestyle to ensure that his family could have the ability to live a normal life. His son on the hand was able to build off the sacrifices of his father to attain a lavish lifestyle. This demonstrates how they maintain their cultural identity through hardships.
An example of problems breaking away from the family occurs when Ronny and Johnny are living in America while their mother is Italy. An example of ethnic differentiation and elucidation occurs when the Castorine family are at the table eat their meals at the table together meals, discuss news, and solve their problems. Once they do so they themselves as a family again and gathering at the table is commonly seen in the Italian family tradition. An example of problems breaking away from the family occurs when Ronny and Johnny are living in America while their mother is Italy.
During the full moon scene, the moon accentuates the beauty of the city and the grandfather and the grandfather is with his dogs by the Brooklyn Bridge facing the lower east side of Manhattan. He is seen appreciating its value, he looking up at the moon saying how beautiful it is and how it reminds him of his home country and his dogs are howling at the moon. Similarly, to how the grandfather sees his old home in his new home, Willie Perdomo’s “Where I’m From” he explains how where he lives is mostly dangerous, however at the end of the story there is resolution in his endeavor of moving sand living in America. In the essay he says , “where I’m from, it’s pretty like my niece stopping me in the middle of the street and telling me to notice all the stars in the sky” ( Perdomo 30).
The narrator’s niece is telling him that they are apart of another world that is so different but similar at the same time. By looking at the stars he is reminded of living in Puerto Rico where the stars are very common every night while in New York City it is rare to see a night sky full of stars.
The main characters from “MoonStruck” and “Where I’m From” each have a story where they are reminded of their past lives in their respective home countries by looking at the New York City night sky, showing how immigrants even when trapped in their new lives they can still reflect on their old lifestyles and the joy they once held.
In Wille Perdomo’s essay “Where I’m From” he expresses the postives and the negtives and how he feels about his neighborhood. Futhermore, Perdomo talks about one of the common threads of the New York City immigrant experience which is patriarchal and matriarchal societal difference. Patriarchal and Matriarchal societal differences are both shown when the neighborhod German shepard,“Tarzan has learned quickly to ignore the woman who begs her man to stop slapping her with his fist. “Please baby! Por favor! I wear it wasn’t me. I swear to my mother. Mameeee!!” (her dead mother told her this would happen one day)” ( Perdomo 30). Patriarchal societal differences happens when the hushand is abusing his wife for unkown reasons.
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