Self Check Quiz
Where the River Runs: A Portrait of a Refugee Family
By Nancy Price Graff
This excerpt is about the Preks, a family who recently immigrated to the United States from Cambodia. Graff explores some of the reasons people immigrate and the challenges they face when they arrive.
In the United States, even today, there are pilgrims. At Thanksgiving, as they are seated around the table, they may not look like the pious, black-frocked Puritans who arrived on the Mayflower almost four hundred years ago, but they are pilgrims just the same. All of them have come for the same reason that generations of pilgrims came before them: to build a new and better life for themselves.
Sohka Prek and her three sons, Buttra (BOO-tra), Oudom (OH-dowm), and Richard are modern pilgrims. They have come as refugees to the United States because a seventeen-year-old bloody civil war in Cambodia has killed perhaps as many as three million Cambodians and left the country in ruins. They have been here for six years now, and they have been working hard to make a new life for themselves.
Over Thanksgiving dinner at the home of their friend Frances Srulowitz in Cambridge, Massachusetts, near Boston, Buttra, Oudom, and Richard tell their mother about the Pilgrims, whom they have been studying in school. The story they tell is one of courage and pain and extraordinary strength. But the story of people who have been uprooted and driven to new lands is older even than the Mayflower; it is as old as humankind. This is the story of a refugee family and of what it is like to be modern pilgrims in a strange new land.
In the morning, when the sky is still gray with the first light of dawn, the birds start singing in the tree outside the bedroom the eight-year-old Oudom shares with his brothers, Buttra and Richard. Cardinals, blue jays, grackles, mourning doves, and even seagulls flock to the large pine, and together they make such a racket that Oudom has trouble sleeping past this raucous announcement that the day has begun. If he lived in a small rural village in Cambodia, in an open, airy house on stilts, as most Cambodians do, Oudom's day would begin with similar sounds of the countryside awakening. But this is Allston, Massachusetts, where Oudom lives with his mother and brothers live in an apartment surrounded by apartments and houses filled with families from many lands.
By the time Oudom opens his eyes, his mother is already up and dressed, ready to leave for her job. Sohka works for the state of Massachusetts, helping families without much money learn about good nutrition and receive the food they need to be healthy. She enters the boys' bedroom and wakes Buttra and Richard, then kisses all her sons good-bye.
What does Graff mean when she writes, "In the United States, even today, there are pilgrims"?
The United States has freedom of religion.
Immigrants still are coming to the United States to build a better life.
People still celebrate Thanksgiving Day in the United States.
The United States is still a melting pot of different cultures.
"Transportation in the United States"
Do you know how much time you spend each day going from one place to another? If you were to keep track of this time each day of the week, the results might surprise you. Most of us spend many hours each week traveling. Moving people and goods from place to place is called transportation.
The United States has one of the best transportation systems in the world. We use roads, railroads, waterways, airways, and pipelines to move ourselves and our products. The United States has about 5.3 million miles (about 8 million km) of roads, streets, and highways. It has more miles of railroads than any other country. Five of the 10 busiest airports in the world are in the United States. Trucks carry 39 percent of America's goods. About 13 percent of goods are carried by water. And about 6 percent of goods shipped in the United States travel by pipeline. Railroads carry about 42 percent of goods.
Many of the products you use each day are made in some other part of the country. The raw materials that are used to make these products come from around the world. Transportation makes it possible to gather the raw materials and ship the finished goods to market. Transportation also makes it possible for workers to get to the factory to make the goods.
Which of the following is not a part of the United States transportation system?
Long Distance Telephone Networks
The Mississippi river
"Adapting to the Environment"
The Inuit are an example of a people who have learned to live in a difficult environment. They live in the far north of North America and Asia. Snow and ice cover the land for most of the year.
For many years the Inuit used very little technology. Technology is the use of tools and skills to make life easier. For example, they made their houses of the one thing they have an abundance of—snow. These snow houses, or igloos, were heated by lamps which burn oil from animals such as seals. The Inuit wore fur clothing made from the skins of animals. They hunted with bows and arrows and spears. Most of their tools were made from animal bones or from pieces of wood they found washed up along the beach.
Inuit ways are changing. Some still follow the old ways, but the Inuit have been quick to adopt new technology. Bows and arrows have been replaced with guns. Skin boats and wooden paddles have given way to metal boats and gasoline motors. Sleds pulled by dogs are being replaced by snowmobiles. Home to an Inuit today is more likely to be a modern house than an igloo.
These changes have not come without problems. When the Inuit began to want guns and houses and snowmobiles, they had to have money to buy them. They made money by hunting and fishing. By using guns and modern boats, they were able to kill many more animals and catch more fish. Before long, there were not as many animals and fish. It became harder and harder to earn the money needed to pay for all of the new things the Inuit wanted. Today, the number of animals the Inuit kill must be limited. Otherwise, all the animals might be killed off.
Which of the following is
an example of using technology?
Making tools from bones or wood
Eating seal meat
Making houses from snow and ice
"The Global Pencil"
It takes the efforts of thousands of people from as many as 20 different countries and states to make one little pencil. You can imagine how many people it must take to make something like a car or a television set!
The roar of the chain stops as the cedar tree starts to fall. Much of the wood for pencils comes from trees in Oregon. The chain saw may have been made in Japan. The gasoline to run it started out as crude oil. Perhaps the oil came from Texas. But chances are good that the oil came from several places, such as Mexico, Alaska, Saudi Arabia, or the North Sea, located off the coast of the United Kingdom.
The logs are loaded onto a truck. The truck may have been made in Michigan. However, it could have been put together in a plant just across the border from the United States in Canada. And, of course, the trucks run on fuel made from crude oil.
The logs may be taken to a sawmill in California. The logs are sawed into small pieces before being sent to the factory in Pennsylvania. It is in Pennsylvania that the other parts that make up a pencil are added.
The "lead" in pencils is not really lead at all. Pencil lead is a mixture of several things. Graphite comes from mines in Sri Lanka. It takes the work of miners and dock workers in Sri Lanka to put the graphite on a ship built in Japan. The ship owner lives in France. The ship company that operates the ship does business from Liberia. The graphite is mixed with clay from Mississippi and wax from Mexico.
For many people, the most useful part of a pencil is the eraser. The rubber in the eraser likely came from Malaysia. The gritty stuff in the eraser that wears the pencil marks off the paper is pumice. Pumice comes from volcanoes in Italy. The piece of metal that holds the eraser in place is made of brass. Brass is made of zinc and copper. Zinc comes mainly from the United States, Canada, Australia, and Ireland. The copper may have come from Bolivia, Chile, or Zambia.
The pencil is almost finished. But first it must be painted. One of the main things that goes into the paint is castor oil. Farmers in Africa grow the castor bean plants from which the oil is made. After the pencil is painted, the name of the maker is stamped on it. The black paint used to stamp the name of the pencil maker has carbon black from the far north of Texas in it.
Now the pencil is finished, but it must still be sent to you. Hundreds of other people are involved in shipping and selling the pencil after it leaves the factory. People in any one of the 50 states could have played a part in bringing you the pencil you use every day.
How many countries might you expect would be involved in contributing raw materials or manufacturing to produce an automobile?
Only one country
Only one or two countries
20 or more countries
None, because automobiles are made in Detroit, Michigan
"Out of Germany"
Into The Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport
By Mark Jonathan Harris and Deborah Oppenheimer
My father had a first cousin in London. He had immigrated early, in 1923, and was fairly well-to-do. Every weekend I took the train into London and bombarded him. I said, 'Uncle Stephan, you've got to get my parents out of Germany.' He said, 'I can't do it.' Every weekend I made the pilgrimage to see him and asked again. Finally, after my being so insistent, he said, 'I'll do it if your father has a working permit.'
I went back to the Rothschild estate and knocked on the door. The butler, who was about 10 foot 6, came out and looked at me. 'What do you want?' I said, 'I want to speak to the Baron Rothschild.' He said, 'Wait here.'
I waited a couple of minutes, and he said, 'Follow me.' Mr. and Mrs. De Rothschild were sitting around a fireplace. It was June, but it was a cold June. I said to him 'Baron Rothschild, it looks to me like war is coming.' He needed me to tell him that!
I said, 'My father's cousin will give him and my mother a visa, providing he has a working permit.' Without hesitation, he said to me, 'Would he work on the chicken farm?' I said, 'He'll do anything.'
He went to a notary, which wasn't terribly far, and made out a working permit for my parents. The next weekend I went back to London, gave it to my father's cousin. And my parents got their permission to come to England.
It didn't go quite that easily, though. On 30 August 1939, my parents were able to leave Germany. But only my mother got across the border. My father, they held. He didn't have a 'J' for 'Jew' on his passport. My mother, of course, wouldn't go alone, so back to Germany they went.
The next day my father emptied out his pockets to a local bureaucrat in the town of Emmerich and said, 'Can you please put a "J" on my passport?' That is how they got out. They arrived in Harwich on 1 September 1939, the day the Germans invaded Poland and the war started.
I got my parents a little flat, which was no bigger than about six foot by eight foot, with an open stairway, which had a room for a bed and dresser. It was certainly no way near a bathroom. But, in my lifetime, I don't think I've ever seen my parents more content or more happy than they were in that little flat. My father went to work. He enjoyed his work. Once in a while from London he was able to get a kosher meal so he didn't have to eat fish or noodles all the time. And they were extremely happy there.
Why did the author's father get held at the border trying to get out of Germany?
He didn't have a "J" on his passport
He wasn't traveling alone
He didn't have a work permit
He didn't have any money
Loo-Wit Loo-Wit is the Cowlitz Indian name for Mount St. Helens, the volcano that erupted in Washington in 1980. A volcano is a vent in the Earth from which molten rock and gas sometimes erupt. The molten rock that erupts, called lava, forms a hill or mountain around the vent. The lava sometimes flows out as liquid, or it may explode as solid particles. The fierce eruption of Mount St. Helens was the most violent volcanic event within the continental United States in recorded history.
The way they do
this old woman
no longer cares
what others think
but spits her black tobacco
any which way
stretching full length
from her bumpy bed.
ashes on the snow,
but the walk
Centuries of cedar
have bound her
on her neck.
snarls and ploughs
of her skin.
in the north,
with the shudder
of her slopes,
of her arm.
It's not as if
they weren't warned.
She was sleeping
but she heard
the boot scrape,
the creaking floor,
felt the pull of the blanket
from her thin shoulder.
With one free hand
she finds her weapons
and raises them high;
clearing the twigs
from her throat
she sings, she sings,
shaking the sky
like a blanket about her
Loo-Wit sings and sings and sings!
This poem appears to describe the actions of an old woman. What is the poem really about?
the effects of old age
the eruption of Mount St. Helens
gathering berries on a mountain
waking up to a beautiful day
True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle
I awoke the next morning in my narrow bed—fully clothed—and a stark truth came to me. I was where no proper young lady should be. I needed only to close my eyes again to hear my father use those very words.
But as I lay there, feeling the same tossing motion I'd felt when falling asleep—I took it to be that of a ship moored to the dock—I recollected Mr. Grummage saying that the Seahawk was due to leave by the morning's first tide. It was not too late. I would ask to be put ashore, and in some fashion—I hardly cared how—I'd make my way back to Barrington School. There, with Miss Weed, I would be safe. She would make the necessary decisions.
Having composed my mind I sat up with some energy only to strike my head on the low ceiling. Chastened, I got myself to the cabin floor. Now I discovered that my legs had become so weak, so rubbery, I all but sank to my knees. Still, my desperation was such that nothing could stop me. Holding on to now one part of the wall, now another, I made my way out of the cabin into the dim, close steerage and up the steps to the waist of the ship, only to receive the shock of my life.
Everywhere I looked great canvas sails of gray, from mainsail to mainroyal, from flying jib to trysail, were bellied out. Beyond the sails stretched the sky itself, as blue as a baby's bluest eyes, while the greenish sea, crowned with lacy caps of foaming white, rushed by with unrelenting speed. The Seahawk had gone to sea. We must have left Liverpool hours before!
As this realization took hold, the Seahawk, almost as if wishing to offer final proof, pitched and rolled. Nausea choked me. My head pounded.
Weaker than ever, I turned around in search of support. For a fleeting but horrible second I had the notion that I was alone on board. Then I realized that I was being watched with crude curiosity. Standing on the quarterdeck was a red-faced man whose slight stoop and powerful broad shoulders conspired to give the impression of perpetual suspicion, an effect heightened by dark, deep-set eyes partially obscured by craggy eyebrows.
"Sir…" I called weakly. "Where are we?"
"We're coasting down the Irish Sea, Miss Doyle," replied the man, his voice raspy.
"I…I…I shouldn't be here," I managed. But the man, seemingly indifferent to my words, only turned and with a slab of a hand reached for a bell set up at the head of the quarterdeck in a kind of gallows. He pulled the clapper three times.
Even as I tried to keep myself from sinking to the deck, nine men suddenly appeared in the ship's waist, from above as well as below, fore as well as aft. All wore the distinctive sailor's garb of canvas britches and shirts. A few had boots, while some had no shoes at all. One or two wore tar-covered hats, others caps of red cloth. Two had beards. One man had long hair and a ring on his left ear. Their faces were dark from sun and tar.
They were, in all, as sorry a group of men as I had ever seen: glum in expression, defeated in posture, with no character in any eye save sullenness….
What was Charlotte's big surprise when she emerged from her cabin?
The ship was still moored at the dock
The captain was nowhere to be found
The ship had sailed and was at sea
She was alone
"The Time for Lemmings"
Julie of the Wolves
By Jean Craighead George
Miyax, a 13-year-old married Eskimo girl, is lost in the Arctic, and is seeking the help of a wolf to survive. She ran away to escape her marriage, but became lost on her way to the port and the ship that would take her to a pen pal in San Francisco.
She had intended to walk to Point Hope. There she would meet the North Star, the ship that brings supplies from the States to the towns on the Arctic Ocean in August when the ice pack breaks up. The ship could always use dishwashers or laundresses, she had heard, and so she would work her way to San Francisco where Amy, her pen pal, lived. At the end of every letter Amy always wrote: "When are you coming to San Francisco?" Seven days ago she had been on her way – on her way to the glittering, white, postcard city that sat on a hill among trees, those enormous plants she had never seen. She had been on her way to see the television and carpeting in Amy's school, the glass buildings, traffic lights, and stores full of fruits; on her way to the harbor that never froze and the Golden Gate Bridge. But primarily she was on her way to be rid of Daniel, her terrifying husband.
She kicked the sod at the thought of her marriage; then shaking her head to forget, she surveyed her camp. It was nice. Upon discovering the wolves, she had settled down to live near them in the hope of sharing food, until the sun set and the stars came out to guide her. She had built a house of sod, like the summer homes of the old Eskimos. Each brick had been cut with her ulu, the half-moon-shaped woman's knife, so versatile it can trim a baby's hair, slice a tough bear, or chip an iceberg.
Her house was not well built for she had never made one before, but it was cozy inside. She had wind proofed it by sealing the sod bricks with mud from the pond at her door, and she had made it beautiful by spreading her caribou ground cloth on the floor. On this she had spread her sleeping skin, a moosehide bag lined with soft white rabbit skins. Next to her bed she had built a low table of sod on which to put her clothes when she slept. To decorate the house she had made three flowers of bird feathers and stuck them in the top of the table. Then she had built a fireplace outdoors and placed her pot beside it. The pot was empty, for she had not even a lemming to eat.
Last winter, when she had walked to school in Barrow, these mice-like rodents were so numerous they ran out from under her feet wherever she stepped. There were thousands and thousands of them until December, when they suddenly vanished. Her teacher said that the lemmings had a chemical in them similar to antifreeze in their blood, that kept them active all winter when other little animals were hibernating. "They eat grass and multiply all winter," Mrs. Franklin had said in her singsong voice. "When there are too many, they grow nervous at the sight of each other. Somehow this shoots too much antifreeze into their bloodstreams and it begins to poison them. They become restless, then crazy. They run in a frenzy until they die."
Of this phenomenon Miyax's father had simply said, "The hour of the lemming is over for four years."
Unfortunately for Miyax, the hour of the animals that prey on the lemmings was also over. The white fox, snowy owl, the weasel, the jaeger, and the siskin had virtually disappeared. They had no food to eat and bore few or no young. Those that lived preyed on each other. With the passing of the lemmings, however, the grasses had grown high again and the hour of the caribou was upon the land. Healthy fat caribou cows gave birth to many calves. The caribou population increased, and this in turn increased the number of wolves who prey on the caribou. The abundance of the big deer of the north did Miyax no good, for she had not brought a gun on her trip. It had never occurred to her that she would not reach Point Hope before her food ran out.
What was Miyax's main reason for leaving her home?
to see Amy's school
to get fruits from the store
to see the Golden Gate Bridge
to be rid of her husband, Daniel
Starting a new life in early seventeenth-century America was not easy. Lack of proper food, poor medical care, and severe weather are a few of the things that killed many settlers. Despite these brutal conditions, people wanted to move to the young colonies. Not all of them were humble people who desired religious freedom. Many new arrivals dreamed of owning businesses, land, and homes. Those who didn't have the money for their passage to the colonies often signed contracts called indentures. As indentured servants, which included children, they agreed to work for the individuals who paid their passage. Children indentured to artisans were called apprentices.
As the colonies became more established, the courts or parents of the children apprenticed the youngsters to craftspeople to learn a trade. They continued to sign a type of indenture that stated what was expected from both the master and the apprentice during the bondage period.
An apprentice vowed to keep any trade or other secrets his master showed him. He promised to be loyal to his master. He said he would not lie about his master or allow others to speak badly about him. He swore he would not leave his master's service without permission, even for one day. He promised he would not buy or sell anything that belonged to him or his master without permission. He pledged he would not gamble or go to taverns, alehouses, or playhouses [theaters]. Finally, the apprentice swore he would not get married or be guilty of any immoral behavior for as long as he served his master.
The master promised to teach his apprentice the art and mystery of his craft. He was to ensure that the youth learned to write and do arithmetic, if capable. At the end of the servitude, the master usually gave the apprentice a set of tools and any other freedom dues, or terminal gifts, that had been set forth in the indenture. As long as the young person stayed in his service, the master was to provide him with food, clothing, and a place to sleep.
In the early seventeenth century, indentured servants _________.
worked as assistants to dentists
provided maid service to the rich
created works of art
worked in exchange for passage to the colonies
Under a New Sky: A Reunion with Russia
By Olga Andreyev Carlisle
By nine o'clock the next day Anya and I were on our way to Peredelkino. Anya looked rested and fresh in a white shirt and slacks, and she was full of energy. Again the day was hot and sunny. The subway was mobbed with Muscovites headed for the country for the weekend – students, workers, bespectacled intellectuals, soldiers in uniform, many with Asiatic faces. I hung on to Anya as the tightly packed escalator rushed us at breakneck speed into the bowels of the earth. We changed trains in a vast, vaulted marble station; everyone in sight was hurrying off somewhere with the anxious air of people who are perpetually late.
We emerged into the open air before the Kiev Station. Near the entrance elderly women were selling big disheveled white peonies and minuscule bunches of radishes and dill. Throngs of peddlers were offering beer and pirozhkis. Queues of shoppers snaked along the sidewalk and into the street. "There is nothing to buy in Peredelkino," said Anya. She suggested we pick up supplies for the Chukovskys at the station, and flowers for Pasternak's grave. We bought fruit, cheese, vegetables, and lovely multicolored tulips, which we chose with care.
It turned out that Anya knew whole poems by Pasternak by heart, including one of my favorites, about the train to Peredelkino. As we walked toward the railway tracks she recited:
There, as in church, I humbly watch
Those I revere: old peasant women,
Workers and simple artisans,
Young students, people from the countryside
Fixed in every sort of posture,
Sitting in groups, in quiet knots,
The children and the young are still,
Reading, engrossed like wound-up toys.
…The crowd carried us into the train, shoving us toward the rows of wooden seats, everyone laden with bundles, with children in tow. Pasternak's studious travelers were nowhere to be seen on the midmorning train to Peredelkino.
But thirty minutes later, as we were nearing our destination, our coach was half empty and the passengers sitting next to us suddenly appeared to be out of Pasternak's poem, reading their books and newspapers "like wound-up toys." To my left a young boy of about fourteen was immersed in Hadzhi Murat, Tolstoy's novella about Russia's conquest of the Caucasus in the nineteenth century. Pasternak was the first to tell me about that story. Even before we reached Peredelkino, his world was drawing us in.
What is similar about the two means of public transportation the two women used?
Both were expensive
Both involved travel by rail
Both had wooden seats
Both were almost empty