Colors themselves are powerful methods of delivering a specific theme within performances—especially if they are related throughout a single work. I will be analyzing the color “red” from Israel Zangwill’s 1908 play The Melting Pot to Amongst all the characters, I will be focusing on David’s outlooks upon the specific color—relating it with how his past encounters with the color contrast that of his encounters with it in America. Central to his trauma was the massacre of Kishinev Pogrom where he conjures images of blood of his family and his people being murdered in masses. Despite the fluent usage and emphasis of blood and consequently having “red” as a negative theme, David undergoes transformations of seeing “red” as quite positive the more he interacts with Vera and the more time he spends in America. The primary research material is the written text The Melting Pot by Israel Zangwill especially deriving from excerpts where concepts of “red” emerge. David’s transformative experience can be extrapolated to the significance of immigrants moving into America at the time the play was shown: America was the place for their salvation—where even their most traumatic memories will be cleansed.
Prior to his immigration to America, David’s outlook on the color red—or any tint of crimson—only carried hurtful memories of blood and fires of persecution in his homeland. This view, however, is changed significantly to the point where David is cleansed of his fears and traumas associated with the color red due to his ideals toward “America” and with the help of Vera. The Melting Pot, by Israel Zangwill illustrates how many immigrants viewed America.
At the beginning of the play The Melting Pot, David is seen as a very sensitive character who’s traumas are easily triggered. However, it is with his views toward an accepting-and-mixing-America and with the help of Vera that he overcame his traumas of his homeland and of the color red. Even a fiery sunset he sees, which may trigger David's traumas easily, is seen by him with joy as shown in the Act IV finale. This final scene stands as a cathartic scene for David representing his full transformations to have successfully coped with his traumas through settling in America. Branching from this, David was not the only one who has "healed" through settling in America: many immigrants of the time also reached out to America to escape persecution. America is not a perfect country, but it is one where many have reached--including David--seeking safety and opportunities.