Literary Analysis of Ambrose Flack’s ‘The Strangers that Came to Town’

Literary Analysis of Ambrose Flack’s ‘The Strangers that Came to Town’

‘The Strangers that Came to Town’ is a short story and considered one of the best works of Ambrose Flack. Central in the story corresponds to the struggle felt by an immigrant family in Croatia as they try to adjust to the American way of life. Evident in the piece is the fact of discrimination and prejudice by the locals against the Duvitch family. Despite this treatment, the family continued to demonstrate resilience, optimism and generosity to the people who continue to ostracize them. In the end however, these traits would remain to be significant as acceptance is gained by the Duvitch family.

Examining the piece, one of the most apparent themes is the reality of prejudice and oppression to outsiders. Clearly, the treatment of local families to the Croatian immigrants remains to be harsh and racially inconsiderate. These people judged the Duvitch family based on their physical appearance and inability to adjust to the lifestyle and expectations of the community (Eliburner2000 1). This further extends to their social status as the children are ridiculed for what they wear and also become a norm among other people within the community. Though this may seem to be the case, the Duvitch family continued to find ways to live beyond these cruelties and still show goodness to these people.

Flack also offers readers contrasting viewpoints surrounding the value system applied by the small-town American community and the Duvitch family. On one hand, readers are able to recognize the prejudice and bigotry exhibited by majority of the community against the Croatian immigrants. They are quick to judge because of how they look and create specific labels based on what they can only observe (Lopez 1). This remains to be a challenging experience for the Duvitch family because of the pressure to adjust to their new home as well as finding ways to experience the positive things in these experiences. Arguably, Flack is able to show that it is due to the Duvitch family’s optimism and willingness to accept their burden that they are able to gain the respect of the townsfolk.

Lastly, the story brings forward that change can happen with the ability of an individual to challenge the existing system. Clearly, the actions towards the Duvitch family remain to be unequal and detrimental to their ability to thrive within the community. That is why the initiative of Tom to put an end to oppressive behavior indicates the direction towards change. He specifically recognized that the actions committed against the Duvitch remain to be senseless and should be given the same amount of respect as others (Flack 1). Seeing this, the challenge then by Tom in this discriminative system further opened up ways for the transformation to happen. Rather than perceiving the Duvitch family as outsiders, they now have become a part of the community.

Overall, Ambrose Flack’s ‘The Strangers that Came to Town’ exhibit the difficult realities experienced by immigrants in trying to adjust and blend in with the local community. Clearly, issues related to labels, prejudice and oppression were experienced by the Duvitch family in the story. However, it is the family’s continued resilience to overcome these challenges and still demonstrate sympathy and goodness paved the way for the development of respect by the locals. The actions and initiatives made by Tom proved to be an important catalyst that shaped the start of changes. It is through his ability to question the current condition and put forward new ways to advocate positive changes that the Duvitch family found relevance within the community and the numerous efforts to give back be recognized by many.

Works Cited

Eliburner2000. ‘The Stranger that Came to Town Book Review’ School Tube. 17 May 2014.  Web. Accessed 1 September 2014.

Flack, Ambrose. ‘The Strangers that Came to Town’ Classic Shorts. n.d. Web. Accessed 1 September 2014.

Lopez, Lina. ‘Language Arts! The Strangers that Came to Town Book Review’ YouTube. 16 Mar. 2014. Web. Accessed 1 September 2014.