There are many factors that contribute to what attitude an immigrant is going to have on their newfound home. Some think the most important thing is their economic outlook, some their religious beliefs, but for most, it is as simple as when they were born. Out of any factor, the generational difference has the largest affect on the approach the immigrants have on their new country, which in many cases is the United States. The generational difference is the largest determining factor because of the impressionability of children, the established identity that the adults must change, and the attachment to the old country that is stronger in some than others. It cannot be said for sure that a certain generation is the “better” immigrant, but it certainly has a large affect on how they contribute to society, whether it be with diversity or assimilation. The largest split is between generation 1 (foreign born) and generation 1.5 (foreign born, but immigrated at a young age) and generation 2 (foreign born parents). These gaps are often contributed to the immigrants outlook on society, but can also be greatly affected by the outlook society has on them.
Immigrant children often have a much different life in the new country than their parents do. Whether they were born there, or brought over at a young age (teen or younger), they have many different experiences that often lead to them having a more favorable outlook on the culture of their new home than their parents. The children have a unique advantage, for they have yet to create an identity for themselves. They do not know what they want to do with their lives yet, so they can better enjoy the culture for what it is. Like Gogol in The Namesake, they can even change their name. Like his father said, “In America anything is possible, Do as you wish” (Lahiri 100). The children of immigrant have a much easier time living in America because they understand that in America, you can do whatever you want. There is no caste system, no arranged marriages, and no limits. Their parents were often not lucky enough to benefit from this way of life.
When it comes to culture, the children are the first to adopt it. The new society and all it has to offer captivates them. Like Gogol and his sister, they want to eat all the food from America, they want all the new toys, and they want to be American. In Crossing Over by Ruben Martinez, the fancy shoes and clothes that come from America captivate many young Mexicans that cannot wait to go cross the border themselves. They want to be like the “migrant boys and their brand-new sneakers and cooler-than-cool beanies…” (87). More so than adults, kids are mesmerized by a flashy society that has newer and better things to offer.
Other than what the society has to offer, kids are often benefited by a more tolerant age. Many immigrants are treated poorly whether it be at the hand of racism or stereotypes. This can really turn people off the American society and taint the...