Arranged Marriage in Bread Givers, by Anzia Yezierska

776 Words4 Pages
Arranged Marriages have been around since time can remember. An arranged marriage is a marital union between a man and a woman who were selected to be wedded together by a third party. Historically, arrange marriages were the main way to marry. In certain parts of the world, it is still the primary approach. There are two types of arrange marriages. The first is a traditional marriage where the children can, with strong objections, refuse to marry their soon to be spouse. In a forced marriage, the children have no say in the matter. Bread Givers shows an excellent representation of the pressures on children from their parents to be married against their will. The factors of arranged marriages are chiefly superficial. The most important factor to consider is the reputation of the family. The marriage needs to be respectable without any scandals attached. The goal seems to be to marry into a more prestigious family than one’s own. People who marry down in class, especially women, often disappoint their parents. Some parents will even disown their children if they do not agree with the child’s choice of a partner. In Mr. Smolinsky’s case, he ridicules his daughters into arranged marriages and even criticizes them after they are married. Even though his daughters’ home situations are terrible because of him, he does not take the blame for his matchmaking but rather turns it around on his children. He brought it upon himself to marry off his children by going to a matchmaker in town. He thought a diamond dealer named Moe Mirsky would be a good choice for a son-in-law. His original intent was for him to marry Fania but his daughter, Mashah who was forever heartbroken, agreed to marry him instead. After she married an... ... middle of paper ... ...cated old maids like you could change the world one inch?’” (205). He was scorning Sara about choosing an education over a husband. In his eyes, arranged marriages were a part of the culture. “’It says in the Torah: What’s a woman without a man? Less than nothing—a blotted-out existence’” (205). He felt his daughters could not make a life for themselves’ if they were not married. The tradition of arranged marriages is decreasing with the rising independence of women. That does not mean that some people may not choose arranged marriages as the path for them but in most cases people will prefer to marry for love. For the children of Mr. Smolinsky, they would have chosen the men they loved instead of the men they were forced to marry with the exception of Sara who did marry for love. Works Cited Yezierska, Anzia. Bread Givers. Doubleday: New York, 1975.

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