Weitz and Stile-Krumme

In the letters from Martin Weitz, we see the experience of a German immigrant in the United States and the difficulties of immigrating. Throughout the letters, the biggest difficulty Martin had was that he was not paid well and did not always earn enough money to sustain himself and his family overseas, and there were times where Martin did not have a job and had difficulty finding one especially since he didn’t speak English at first. It seems that these problems were not exclusive to him either as Weitz describes how many people try to find jobs but are unable to, and these difficulties seemed to frustrate Weitz as he often mentions how difficult it can be to live in America and how not having a job in America is awful. One thing I found interesting was how Weitz wanted to get married not only because he felt it was finally time but also because he thought that it would be easier to save money as a married man. It was also interesting to see Weitz’s perspective on the politics of the time and how he seems to know a bit of American politics.

The Stile-Krumme is different from the Weitz reading because it is a set of letters sent from multiple people from the same blended family. This means that the perspectives of German immigration vary more than the Weitz reading. However, I noticed how the letters still shared similar ideas in regards to the idea that it is still difficult to obtain wealth in America and can be even worse if someone cannot find work. These letters best show the effect of chain migration as it shows the many family members that migrate to the Americas and establish their lives there, while still trying to support their families back home. One thing I also noticed was how the Stile-Krumme family did not seem to struggle in the same way that Weitz likely due to factors like previous wealth and more family members who can help. These readings also touch on the idea of learning English to help in the job market and how difficult it is to integrate into a country that primarily speaks a different language.

One thought on “Weitz and Stile-Krumme

  1. I also thought that Weitz’s reasoning for marriage was interesting! For a while, he claimed he did not want to marry, because he had read stories of wives running off, but that it was easier financially to be married than single in America. I also think that is interesting because, if we add the thoughts of the Stille Krumme family, together they seem to suggest that it is best to immigrate to America alone, as a young single person, and then marry soon to alleviate financial burden. I do wonder, though, if marriage eventually increases financial struggle when children are born. It was interesting to me that despite some financial struggles, Wilhelmina still wrote she “wouldn’t want to live in Germany again since I live here so happily” (75).

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