Between 1890 and 1910, many immigrants came to America to escape political and religious persecution or economic poverty. In the film "An American Tail" there is a song that includes the lyrics, " there are no cats in America and the streets are paved with cheese". In this essay I am going to provide an interpretation behind the meaning of the lyrics and how it relates to the story of immigrants.
In the first part of the lyrics they describe an America were there are no cats. One of the ways I took this as was that there is no war in America. Another way I took it is that there is a lack of the bourgeoisie. Which when they got here most were probably greatly surprised to find the corruption that took place in the United States government. Large corporations such as some of the larger steel companies controlled most every thing. Also children were forced to work long hours with out breaks in hazardous environments some as young as ten.
Now In the second portion of the lyrics it refers to the streets as if they were paved with cheese which in human terms would mean that the streets are paved with gold. This could mean one thing that every one in America is rich and everyone has job. Which was another false statement most immigrants that came to America had to work in some form of job just to barley feed their family. In the early 1910's almost half of the women who worked in such jobs as factory workers, store clerks, and laundresses earned less that $6 a week. The commission on industry relations reported in 1916 that this salary means "that every penny must be counted, every normal desire stifled, and each basic necessity of life barley satisfied.
2.It is said that America is a melting pot. All religions, languages, cultured, races, and ethnic groups melted together to form one unique American culture. I take this to be a true statement because of the mixing of cultures that took place during this time period.