Defining an American: South Florida Authors in the Fusion Chamber
The melting pot theory first characterized by Crevecoeur and later by Zangwill no longer defines what is an American. The stringent Immigration Act of 1924 points toward the United States government's recognition that, at that time, the metaphor no longer applied. In the same year, Kallen writes about cultural pluralism, and 60s census statistics as well as Glazer and Moynihan's Beyond the Melting Pot further debunk the myth, leading to Alex Haley's metaphor of the tossed salad. However, writers such as Jules Chametzky argue that there never has been a melting pot, nor is there currently a tossed salad. Instead, what an American is has always been in flux. Because texts represent society and culture, and because current immigration patterns label South Florida as the new model for what is an American, naturally, an analysis of literature set in South Florida and written by South Floridians will help evince what it is to be an American today.
Keywords: Melting Pot, South Florida Literature
Dr. Jeffrey Hughes Morgan
Chair, English Department