An American Tail

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An American Tail Video Worksheet

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"An American Tail" is more than just an entertaining children's cartoon. Produced by Steven Spielberg, the story is derived from the experiences of immigrants who came to the U.S. from Eastern Europe (including Russia) between 1880 and 1924. The movie will introduce the experiences encountered by many of these immigrants.

In the movie, Fievel and his family dream of a new life of freedom, safety and opportunity in America. They leave their home and most of their possessions behind as they make a gloomy, crowded and sometimes dangerous trip across the ocean. Upon arrival, they find that things are not exactly as they dreamed and that making a new life in America may be harder than they thought.
Of course the twist is that in this movie, the main characters are mice and those that threaten them are cats. It is your job to see past this and appreciate the story for what it really is: A tale of the joys and struggles of immigration – An “American” Tale.

  1. What is the last name of the mouse family?

  2. What year does Fievel and his family leave Russia?
  3. In what way do they feel America is like a fairy tale?

  4. From what European city does the family board a ship to America?

  5. What is the only food to eat on the ship?

  6. What were conditions like on the boat?

  7. Where do the immigrants land in New York? (What is the name of the immigration station?)

  8. As the immigrants are being “processed”, what does the official sometimes change?

  9. What is under construction on the island where Fievel lands?

  10. What are they selling outside of immigration?

  11. What type of machine are the women using with their feet when Fievel is forced to work?

  12. What new Thomas Edison invention fools Fievel into thinking he has found his Papa?

  13. Describe the conditions in the New York City streets that Fievel wanders.

  14. Who are the Mott Street Maulers? What do they represent in the “human world”?

  15. In their big plan, given to them by Fievel, where are the mice going to send the cats?

  16. What is different about the firefighting equipment used in the movie versus what we might see today?

  17. What do you think the cats in the movie actually represented?

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