This paper considers a keyword of current discourse on racial integration and ethnic pluralism in its original context by investigating Israel Zangwill’s play The Melting Pot (1908). Zangwill’s utopian vision for ethnic assimilation, set against his Anglo-Jewish background and his transformation from a Zionist and territorialist to an assimilationist, is read as an attempt to find a feasible solution to the Jewish Question. Characters from the play embodying Judaic orthodoxy and partial assimilation are presented as doomed to failure, whereas the union of the offspring of an anti-Semitic Russian aristocrat with the Jewish eyewitness and victim of massacre David Quixano is represented as the new paradigm of eschewing Old World hatred and espousing New World tolerance and intermarriage. The wound David has sustained in the Tsarist pogrom is symbolized as a historical trauma to be purged in the ethnic melting pot. In conclusion, Werner Sollors’s idea of descent and consent in conceptualizing the new approach to ethnic pluralism is challenged and modified through a discussion of American President Theodore Roosevelt’s initial enthusiastic advocacy of the play and his later backpedaling in immigration policies and immigrant assimilation, demonstrating Zangwill’s premature optimism and reinforcing the dilemma of Jewish assimilation.
KEY WORDS: the melting pot, anti-Semitism, Jewish drama, Israel Zangwill, assimilation, Theodore Roosevelt
民族熔爐已成為族群融合與種族多元論述之重要比 喻，本文即探討最早讓此用語廣為流傳的文本，桑威爾的 1908 年戲劇《大鎔爐》之衍生歷史文化背景。英裔猶太 人的劇作家桑威爾企圖尋找猶太民族得以安居的烏托 邦，來解決亙古的猶太問題，而以紐約為代表的美國遂成 其理想標的。劇中猶太家庭三代象徵了對移民同化的迥異 看法：老一輩全然抗拒同化，中生代表裡不一，新生代則 藉由與異族結合而化解恩怨，建立融合。主人翁大衛雖幼 時在俄國目睹家人被反猶沙皇軍屠殺，而遭嚴重身心創 傷，卻棄絕舊世界恩怨，擁抱新大陸和解，而與仇家結為 親家，創傷經由融爐焠鍊，因而昇華。最後藉由老羅斯福 總統理論支持族群熔爐，實際卻保留的現實政治，探討美 國族群理論中索勒斯所謂由同源至同意的轉向需再商榷 的必要。