America's Melting Pot or the Salad Bowl: The Stage Immigrant's Dilemma
Dr. Safi Mahmoud Mahfouz

This study aims at shedding light on the stereotypical images of immigrants in twentiethcentury American canonical drama and expose the function of such ethnic minority groups in American theatre and drama. The study strives to investigate the stage immigrants' experiences that range from persecution and marginalization, to aspiration of assimilation, and the obstacles such characters of diverse ethnic origins face while trying to assimilate into a multicultural, pluralistic, heterogeneous American society. This historicizing of drama helps explore the stereotypical images of immigrants in the racial and ethnic discourse of some selected modern and contemporary American plays. The study is confined to American plays that constitute America's mainstream national plays in which immigrants serve as the rupture in such plays, thus creating a cultural unease. These plays include Eugene O'Neill's Long Day’s Journey Into Night and A Touch of the Poet both plays depict the stories of Irish immigrants and their pride in their Irish heritage; Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge about illegal Italian Americans; Tennessee Williams's A streetcar Named Desire that discusses the life of a furious polish immigrant; The Glass Menagerie about an Irish gentleman caller; and The Rose Tattoo about Sicilian immigrants; Henry David Hwang’s M. Butterfly; and Herb Gardener’s Conversations with My Father; a tragicomedy about Jewish immigrants. The study bases much of the argument on a performance studies approach that privileges performance history and audience responses.

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