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John Sobuchanouwsky

            In the early 1900's, it was customary for immigrants to enter America with unusual surnames. When John Sobuchanowsky entered the United States, he did not know the hardships he would encounter simply because of his last name. His story was the typical immigrant story, his father came to America and married his mother, both immigrants. His father worked for a living and raised enough money to send all of his children to school, and then later to college. The difference between John Sobuchanowsky's story and other immigrants is that he decided to make one change that would impact his life for the rest of his time, and that was to change his last name. When John decided to do this, he became no longer John Sobuchanowsky but John Nichols. John only wanted to change his name so that he would be seen as an American to employers, but this change became an inner conflict for the rest of his life. In retrospect, it was not a good idea for Nichols to change his last name. In making this alteration, he lost an enormous part of his heritage and also a unique aspect of his lifestyle. .
             The theory that America became a melting pot is true in this case. However, the type of melting pot was quite unlike the accepted idea. Instead of the country becoming a melting pot of various cultures, it instead became a melting pot that molded each person into one uniform culture. The fear of the foreigner was a major contribution in making this one culture become the only lifestyle in America. As a child, Nichols suffered greatly because of his dissimilarity from the other "American" children at school. "Some of the "American" kids giggled. The principle had a lot of difficulty over my name and made me pronounce it two or three times: Sobuchanowsky, Sobuchanowsky. My voice sounded like thunder in my ears. My mouth and throat were dry. I wanted to run away." (p. 46) When John Nichols changed his last name, he became another member of this melting pot, trying to fit the criteria of becoming an American.

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