Thanksgiving is more than the turkey, bread stuffing and dessert. It is a way to celebrate from one family to another, how we have come a long way and are grateful for all the good things that have happened in our lives. Thanksgiving is our most loved and celebrated holiday because of its inclusiveness and recognition of our diversity. Here at Phoenix Learning Group, we celebrate Thanksgiving with our movie adaptation of the classic masterpiece, ”Molly’s Pilgrim”- a children’s literature text by Barbara Cohen which captures the entire essence of Thanksgiving celebration.
Molly’s Pilgrim tells the story of a young Russian Jewish girl that immigrated to America with her parents to escape religious persecution. She came to America with the hope of finding acceptance and having religious freedom. However, Molly only met with ridicule as her classmates were insensitive to her desires and consistently made fun of her ethnic mannerisms. Her experience with her insensitive classmates made her long for the home she was used to as she found her current environment to be hostile.
Fortunately, Molly’s class was given a doll project for Thanksgiving. She appreciated the opportunity as she felt it would allow her prove her knowledge of American culture and ways on one hand while she was afraid that it would only subject her to further ridicule on the other hand. With her mom’s help, she was able to complete the project which resembled a Russian emigrant girl in traditional dress. When she took it to school, there were snickers at first at the project but when she explained the morale behind it, her classmates were moved with appreciation and it ended up being a unifying Thanksgiving for Molly and her classmates. The experience taught Molly that “it takes all kinds of Pilgrims to make a Thanksgiving.”
“Molly’s Pilgrim” is a must watch for everyone who wants to celebrate Thanksgiving’s loaded themes. The movie won the 1985 Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film as well as American Film Festival-Blue Ribbon, CINE Golden Eagle. We have Molly’s Pilgrim Double Feature which includes “Molly’s Pilgrim” and “Make A Wish, Molly” which cover the Thanksgiving theme in spades. Well renowned actress, Mila Kunis, stars in “Make A Wish, Molly” playing the role of Melinda.
“Make A Wish, Molly” is another story of Molly that talks about what Molly went through with her ethnic mannerisms and when her first Passover conflicts with her friend’s birthday. However, Molly also had a special birthday celebration organized by her mom and teacher. The party also taught her classmates to appreciate their ethnic diversity.
What Molly and her classmates went through and learned in the movie is still important today in America. We have had our struggles with accepting views that aren’t ours or appreciating what we aren’t used to, but we can celebrate because we intrinsically understand what makes us human which we all share regardless of our differences. Thanksgiving has taught us to be proud of our diversity and differences for our strength lies in our unity, not our uniformity.