Subject Material

The Melting Pot – Text in Brief

Published: 02.02.2011, Updated: 04.03.2017
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Pre-reading: The United States was often described as a "melting pot".  What ideas come to mind when you think of the word "melting"?

Immigrants Arriving

The Melting Pot 

Immigrants in the USA. Photo.Immigrants 

As immigrants from all over the world were arriving in the United States it forced the leaders to begin thinking of how these people would become part of the new nation. How should they become Americans? Massive immigration led to the biggest question of all : “What is an American?” And perhaps the most famous answer to that question was given by Crèvecoeur, a Frenchman, in 1783: "Here individuals of all races are melted into a new race of men”. More than a century later these same
ideas were expressed in the myth of “the melting pot.”

Difficult words
  • races = folkegrupper
  • melt = smelte
  • century = århundre/hundreår
  • express = uttrykke
  • myth = myte
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Comprehension
  1. How would you define the word "American"?
  2. How was it described in 1783?
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Melting Pot

The term came from a play written in 1908, which showed how people from different nations were melted together and born again as Americans. Most immigrants left behind their culture, traditions and language and started a new "American" life. Some people went so far as to change their name so they would blend in more with the people.

Difficult words
  • a play = et skuespill/ eit skodespel
  • blend in = gå over i hverandre/gå over i kvarandre
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Comprehension
  1. What does the term "melting pot" mean?
  2. What is the purpose of changing one's name? Can you think of examples of how it would help the immigrant?
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The Immigrant Experience

The Melting Pot. Photo.The Melting Pot 

The move from one country to another is not always easy. Immigrants often felt as if they had been "uprooted" and "transplanted". These words described the negative sides of the immigrant experience. They felt torn between two worlds. Which world should they call home? The result is a flow of emotions from joy to guilt. Yet, as with most things, time heals and the immigrant experience turns into a positive one.

Difficult Words
  • experience = opplevelse/oppleving
  • emotion = følelse
  • torn between = revet mellom/riven mellom
  • guilt = skyld/skuld
  • heal = helbrede/lækje
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Comprehension
  1. What do you think is meant by the words “uprooted” and “transplanted” in connection with immigration? Look them up in the dictionary.
  2. What negative experiences can you think of that a new immigrant might have?
  3. What would you call "home" if you were an immigrant?
  4. Why would an immigrant feel guilt?
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A Positive Outlook

Today's outlook is much brighter. Immigrants have the advantage of having two cultural traditions and people now see this as a new and exciting ethnic experience. The immigrant no longer feels the need to have to leave their culture and identity behind.They can have both. Their two worlds can blend together rather than remain separate.

Difficult Words
  • advantage = fordel
  • blend together = gå over i hverandre/gå over i kvarandre
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Comprehension

1. What might be some advantages of having two cultural traditions?

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Salad Bowl and Pizza

Positive terms used today to describe this blend of people are "salad bowl" and "pizza". Both of these foods are made of several ingredients either mixed together in a bowl or held together by dough. Today the Italian immigrant arrives and remains Italian while living alongside Irish, Polish, Russian  and other immigrants. It is the blending of these nationalities that gives America its flavor. Immigrants are proud of their heritage and even prouder that the nation of America has welcomed them.

Difficult words
  • dough = deig
  • flavor = smak, krydder
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Comprehension
  1. What are the two positive terms used today to describe the immigrant experience?
  2. What does "giving America flavor" mean?
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Tasks and Activities

Comprehension and Vocabulary

 

Discussion

  1. With a partner discuss the three terms: melting pot, salad bowl and pizza. How do they differ? Which term do you think best describes the US today?
  2. What ingredients would you put in a salad or pizza? Perhaps draw a picture and label each of the parts.
  3. Imagine leaving your home country and immigrating to the US. What are some things you could do to learn how to become an American? And what traditions/culture from your homeland would you take along with you?