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The Melting Pot Drama in Four Acts

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  111 ratings  ·  20 reviews
1915. Zangwill was a prominent Zionist. His writings include novels, essays, poems and plays. This play has become synonymous with the American immigration experience. It is dedicated to Theodore Roosevelt, who at the time promoted a liberal immigration policy. See other titles by this author available from Kessinger Publishing.
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Published April 1st 2005 by Kessinger Publishing (first published 1908)
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Matilda
I gave it four out five stars, not because of its wonderful literary qualities or the breathtaking originality of the plot, but because it was wonderfully interesting regarding my American Studies class.
I really enjoyed discovering the origin of the "melting pot" expression, and see how immigration was seen and expressed in the beginning of the 1900's. A quick, fun read, a bit melodramatic, but enjoyable nonetheless.
Ece
Mar 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
I have read this for my American Studies class and I must say that even though it is not a quality literary work for me it is easy to read and helps a lot understanding the ideal of the melting pot and to build upon it some ideas. I have really liked the melodramatic elements and comical parts. It felt like Romeo and Juliet but with a happy ending. Variety of characters and their unique savageness at some level have made me laugh. Also I like the two other readings which argue the effect of ...more
Elizabeth
Read for my writing class
Lance Eaton
After coming across the title in about four times in two weeks, I decided that I needed to fill this gap in my reading experience. So this book is the supposed original reference for the concept of the United States as a "melting pot". In that regard, it reminds me of Karel Capek's R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots), the first use of the term robots. And that comparison works in a lot of ways in that it's often surprising to see what something fairly common in our language and to see that its ...more
Kay
I read this in a Lit course in college (about American assimilation), and though it's overly heavy-handed and very dramatic IMO (too be fair, David Quixano is a pretty dramatic guy), I did enjoy reading this play more than some of the other stuff we read.

I liked mild-mannered Mendle, and Kathleen's growth and acceptance (and understanding) of Frau Quixano by the end, and honestly Vera's growth too. The only character I had a hard time getting behind totally was David. Maybe I would have liked a
...more
Joel
Jan 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Historically significant play and Broadway hit of 1909, Zangwill coined the phrase "melting pot" adopted by social scientists to describe the American experience. I enjoyed the multi-generational look at immigrants, mirroring my own family's experience. Zangwill thought that immigrant Jews might be among the first to success, because we were always outsiders and in the minority, and last to assimilate, because of our millennial resilience. The play premiered in Washington D.C. with Theodore ...more
Alan
Jun 09, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The Melting-Pot is not a particularly good play with its melodrama and one dimensional characters - but there's no denying its historical importance. Zangwill's play is indeed the play responsible for coining the term melting-pot, and its role in pushing that ideology into the public sphere is hard to ignore. That being said, however, The Melting-Pot is pretty disappointing. I can't see any reason to read this play outside of an academic setting or out of personal interest.
Merceda
Jan 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Read this for Cultures of Displacement class. Interesting play. The Baron was horrible. David was PTSD, and he wanted to marry Vera Revendal who is a gentile in the early 1900s after his parents were killed by the Baron in a pogrom. David's talents as a musical genius enables him to live and push forward as he lives with his uncle in New York.
Caidyn (SEMI-HIATUS; BW Reviews; he/him/his)
I don't know why my professor had us read this for class. The writing and message was okay. It captured issues within immigrants trying to create a new life and struggling leaving theirs behind, but meh. Not for me. Or this class.

Read for: Religion, Ethnicity and Race
Jaclyn
Aug 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
I thought this was a really funny, touching, and thought provoking play. It really looks into the issues of racism and prejudice and how America is a place we can put dark pasts behind us. A play about moving forward.
Stephanie Gordon
Jul 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
It's a delightful play. Anyone who wants to understand the United States of American should read it.
Kien Pham
Overly sentimental piece on American exceptionalism, or insightful look into the Jewish-American life?
Bob
Oct 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: plays
A marvelous play! Written before WW-I from the point-of-view of a Russian Jewish immigrant. Someone who knew, only too well, the recent and ongoing persecution of the pogroms.
Gabrielle
I’m not sure I will read this with my class, but this edition has a couple of informative appendices that I want to incorporate.
Monty Milne
Dec 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this because I recently met the author's grandson at a party. I had not realised that the origin of the phrase "Melting Pot" was this play. I found it moving and enjoyable; a story of redemption and optimism, told with humour and pathos. Zangwill had a good ear for speech patterns and accents - his Irish maid has her brogue reproduced with brilliant accuracy (if only Dickens and the Bronte sisters could have rendered dialect speech with such accuracy!). The story is about a Jewish ...more
Cara Byrne
Nov 09, 2016 rated it liked it
First brought to the stage in 1909 in Washington DC, this four act play is melodramatic and follows musical prodigy David as he overcomes traumatically witnessing the massacre of his family in Russia as he celebrates his new freedoms in America. While it is not particularly well-written or engaging for contemporary readers, it is an essential read in contextualizing American immigration narratives in the 20th century.
Leah
Jan 04, 2011 rated it liked it
Suuuuper cheesy play about a patriotic young Jewish fellow. I think I secretly really liked it despite its feel-goodiness.
Michael
Mar 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The American story of immigration, this story needs to be remembered by many, especially today.
Weiti
Jan 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Interesting work about an important topic, just at the end a little too much patriotism.
Darragh
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Feb 23, 2019
E. Jean
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Oct 07, 2019
Akje
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Nov 12, 2016
Tricia
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Ariel Francisco
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Jan 20, 2013
Nathan Modlin
rated it it was ok
Aug 31, 2017
Satish Mehta
rated it it was ok
Mar 06, 2019
Sydney
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Feb 13, 2019
Kathinka
rated it it was ok
Apr 12, 2018
Joshua
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Mar 31, 2016
University of Chicago Magazine
Meri-Jane Rochelson, AM'76, PhD'82
Editor

From the editor: "This edition presents the play in its historical context, with readings from the time on immigration and intermarriage, as well as the settlement house movement and the Kishinev pogrom, which both figure prominently in the drama. Excerpts from the many and diverse reviews of the play highlight why it was so controversial."
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Israel Zangwill was a British novelist, short-story writer and dramatist.