I Came a Stranger: The Story of a Hull-House Girl Review
Long story short- an immigrant girl, Hilda, came to America with her family. Her dad died and she went
to work to help her family make rent. Her friend brought her to Jane Addams’ Hull house one day, and a
few months later she finally got to go back. She started to frequent there and became close to Jane
Addams. Jane gave her the opportunity to see plays, teach others English, take a college writing class,
and have better jobs usually not open to immigrants. Jane also taught Hilda many values, acceptance,
etc. Hilda met Bill and they got married- that is when Hilda officially became an American because she
married an American citizen- and that is where I stopped reading. :P
1) Was Hilda’s family typical? What push and pull factors did they experience?
a. Push and pull factors- pull, opportunity, and a better life. Push, religion, money.
b. They were fairly typical. Her father went ahead to America to make a home for her
family, and then her mother and siblings as well as she followed. However, her dad had
a somewhat flexible well-paying job, because he was able to inscribe Hebrew sayings
onto gravestones. Since no one else could, he was able to get Sundays off, as well as a
stable job. However, when he passed away, Hilda and her sister went to work to help
the family, like many other immigrant girls did. Hilda’s family struggled, but always had
neighbors willing to help in times of extreme need- which truly were rare compared to
other immigrants. Hilda was also presented with many opportunities because of Jane
Addams and the Hull House. After Hilda gets involved with the Hull House, you don’t
hear much about her family until her wedding, but no signs of trouble were mentioned.
And when Hilda was to be married, her mother and sister were set on giving her a nice
dress and suit and clothes to wear, they could afford that.
2) What were the main sources of tension between immigrant children and parents, especially
mothers (cf. "The Old Woman and the New World," pp. 203-4)? How did Hull House help?
a. One main source was that children began to feel superior to parents, especially because
they developed the English language must faster than their parents, as well as new
skills, such as typing or new factory work (but most especially the language barrier).
There is also a barrier of religion. Parents come with the religion they have been
participating in their entire lives and passing it onto their children. However, children in
America become exposed to many new religions, as well as things that do not follow
their religion. In Hilda’s case, it was the large presence of non-Kosher foods, that she
learned to eat on occasion but her mom still refused to touch.
3) What do Hilda Satt's experiences in the garment industry illustrate about the difficulties of
immigrant workers, and organized labor in general? a. Her experience in the garment industry was not good; however, she accepted it because
she needed to make money to help take care of her family. Her factory did not treat her
well, workers were charged if a part on their machine broke, even when it wasn’t their
fault. If a part of the machine broke, they had to wait on the one repair man to come fix
it, therefore losing money because they got paid by the piece, all while being
reprimanded by the owner/manager. When she chose to walk out from her job, the
manager gave her the feeling that she was replaceable- because she was. There were
many immigrants around searching for jobs. It showed her that organized labor was
tough, and that labor unions were a thing to strive for- so workers would be protected
as well as being treated fairly and making a proper amount of money.
4) How was Hilda different from other girls because of the Hull House?
a. Hilda Satt was better off than many other immigrant girls. Although her family faced
monetary struggles and she never finished school like the other immigrant girls, she was
presented with many different job opportunities and experiences that other immigrant
girls were not given. Jane Addams had contact with many people in America at that
time, while presented job openings that she passed onto Hilda, such as the publishing
office job. Hilda was also exposed to many other cultural experiences and immigrants
from the Hull House. Many other immigrants and religions appeared at the Hull House,
so Hilda was exposed to them and learned to volunteer and teach them, as well as
accept their culture and beliefs.
5) Chicago and Milwaukee ethnic areas?
a. Chicago- more defined ethnic communities; kosher food readily advertised and
available; many Jews as well as other r