a melting-pot society

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Senior Member
Nick: “—because what matters is that the man in question committed a felony crime, assault and battery, and he is walking around free. Of the three cases, this one worries ordinary citizens the most. We’ve got a melting-pot society, a real hodge-podge, and there are going to be all kinds of conflicts and abrasions. I don’t think any of us want a frontier society here in Boulder.
Source: The Stand by Stephen King
Context: Nick is putting forward his ideas for the need for law and order in Boulder at the first permanent committee meeting.

What does the bolded expression mean?

Wikipedia defines a melting-pot as "The melting pot is a metaphor for a heterogeneous society becoming more homogeneous, the different elements "melting together" into a harmonious whole with a common culture".

However this Wikipedia definition does not jibe with and contradicts what follows 'real hodge-pudge'. For me, this implies a heterogenous society rather a homogenous one.

Other words I looked up:
felony crime ~ serious crime (cf. misdemeanour crime)
hodge-podgy~ a confused mixture
assault and battery ~ [Law] the crime of threatening a person together with the act of making physical contact with them.
abrasions ~ scrapes. Used here metaphorically, sort of frictions.
frontier society ~ refer to the western part of America before the twentieth century, the area beyond the part settled by Europeans.

Thank you.
  • Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    It means that the community is made of of many nationalities and many religions all "melted" together. There are going to be differences because of the backgrounds.

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    You can mix diverse social groups together, but whether you get a homogeneous outcome or a real hodge-podge is never certain!

    This guy thinks there is danger in his situation. Wikipedia is presenting the rose-tinted view that the word "melting pot" is often associated with but King is using it slightly differently.
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