Courage to Change “In Balfour, where he landed early in the morning, he almost lost courage when he found out that nobody understood him. But at the hardware store a man- the same who had made him a present of the cap he was wearing-had made signs to him as if pitching sheaves, meanwhile talking to him, tentatively , in short monosyllables, apparently asking questions. / he thought that now he looked exactly like a Canadian. ” (Frederick Philip Grove 21-22). Many people immigrate to other countries because they want a better life and future. However, it’s often not an easy transition.
Immigrants have to deal with problems such as the language barrier, discrimination, and alienation. In the story” The First Day of an Immigrant”, by Frederick Philip Grove, one of the characters named Niels Lindstedt, is an immigrant of Canada and faced similar problems when he moved. However, he was successful in overcoming the challenges of immigration because of his courage. This story demonstrates that immigrants cannot be afraid to work hard, make changes to fit in, and to seek help from others in order to be accepted into the society. When an immigrant arrives into a new place, one of the most difficult things is to find work.
In order to look for a job, one has to be able to communicate with others. But as an immigrant, without knowledge of the local dialect, finding employers is rendered impossible. When Niels Lindstedt landed in Balfour, Manitoba, he only knew how to speak his native Swedish language. He almost lost courage as he was unable to talk to, or comprehend with others. But that didn’t stop him from finding work. Niels Lindstedt began working on his own initiative when he saw the two men frantically lifting some load of bushel. He immediately set out to help them even though it was not his job.
This sudden cause of action both confused and impressed Jim, the Scotsman. Jim was so impressed in fact that he relayed the presence of Niels to the boss which eventually landed him the job. Niels Lindstedt is courageous as he volunteered himself without someone directing where he should work. Immigrants have to be brave in order for them to overcome challenges that could prevent them from achieving a better future. Immigrants make a lot of sacrifices in order to fit into their new home. In order for them to become part of society, they have to leave behind some of their beliefs and values.
For instance, changing their appearance; to help adapt to the culture of their new country, immigrants usually have to exchange their traditional garments for those of what the general population wears. When you stand out as a foreigner, it might deter other people from working with you and wanting to talk to you. When Niels Lindstedt was dressed strangely “in a new suit of overalls, stiff with newness, his flaxen-haired head covered with a blue-denim cap” (Frederick Philip Grove 19), people judged him as “foreign and absurd” (Frederick Philip Grove 19).
His effort in trying to adapt himself to this new country seemed so obvious and unsuccessful because he tried too hard to look Canadian. This represents that he was not afraid to make changes although it did not necessarily work. Immigrants can sometimes feel lonely. When they go to a new country, they leave behind their friends and family and end up all alone. But there are people who can help. It’s up to the immigrant to seek out these helpers and ask for their advice and take them into consideration.
When Niels Lindstedt arrived in Balfour, Montreal, his plan was to look for work. There he met a hardware dealer and took the advice of changing his clothes because what he wore was unsuitable for working in the harvest field. This reveals that Niels is not afraid to make changes in how he appears and “he thought that now he looked exactly like a Canadian” (Frederick Philip Grove 22). The importance of acceptance by others is that you would not feel lonely and be left out. Soon the people around you become your friends or family that would accept you for who you are as an immigrant.
Everyday people migrate into a new country to start a new life. Many immigrants face the same problems that Niels Lindstedt had to deal with when he immigrated into Canada. They encounter the problems of finding work and acceptance by others caused by not knowing the new language and not being able to communicate with people. Works Cited Grove Philip, Frederick. “The First Day of an Immigrant. ” Making a Difference: Canadian Multicultural Literature in English. 2Nd ed. Ed. Smaro Kamboureli. Print.
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