Essay on A Different Mirror By Ronald Takaki
19th Century: The expedience and enslaving tendencies in America.
In his book A Different Mirror, Ronald Takaki compares the Americas to the wilderness in William Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Written in 1611, this play was based on an English ship that was going to Virginia but accidentally ran into the Bermudas. By using this type of metaphor, Takaki wants to represent English expansion into the New World. Caliban – a native of the island – became a figure for the other natives of the New World as Prospero claimed sovereignty on the island. Takaki uses this image to illustrate the tendency of white Americans to match barbarism with the color of the skin. This attitude would determine the treatment reserved for immigrants in America. More precisely, the image of Caliban is used throughout Takaki’s book to describe the struggles especially of those immigrant groups: the Irish, the Chinese, the African Americans and Native Americans.
From the country where they belonged, all these immigrants were extremely poor and they were heckled by the other more dominant classes (often the rich). This social pressure forced them to leave the country where they were born, and they had no other choice than finding a new welcoming place to settle. That is what America was for the immigrant, but what were immigrants for America?
What was the situation of the immigrants arriving on U.S. soil? First of all, immigrants were in a large…