Bread Givers And Family Limitation

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In the great story of a young girls triumph over poverty, rejection and innumerable failures as a child, she will unfortunately never truly prosper as an adult in the world in which she lives. Our protagonist, Sara Smolinsky who is the youngest of the four Smolinsky girls, has the most motivation in life to be independent, and fend for herself. However to achieve this goal she would need to break loose of the family chain and peruse a life elsewhere. It appears she has done so as she runs away from home seeking an education. Six years or so go by and she has more than fulfilled her dream of independence, however as members of her family take on life threatening sickness she once again feels the need to come home, and falls back under the spell of family obligation. As for other characters in the book, the same problem with familial duties always interferes with what one truly wants. Early in the book we first learn about the oldest Smolinsky sister Bessie, who is also known as the, "burden bearer" of the family. The Smolinsky's rely on Bessie to contribute her wages to the family's well being, and is seems that if she fails to make good enough money, the family will undoubtedly fall into pieces. "And the whole family were hanging on Bessie's neck for her wages. Unless she got work soon, we'd be thrown in the street to shame and to laughter for the whole world." (Pg 1) Perhaps it is Bessie who has suffered the most from her family duty. It seems that Bessie has not even had time to develop a personality due to the weight her family has put on her shoulders throughout her years as a young child and through her adolescence. She needs to work in order to feed her family and she unlike Sara, has no freedom and no chance of escaping her family duties without the separation of her family due to poverty. This truly holds Bessie back from what she wants. Her duty to her father keeps her from marrying Berel and going off to live with him. However she wants, like Sara, to run away and be independent but she feels that without her family she will be left alone in the cold world with no where to go. This frightens Bessie and she feels that she would rather stay with what she has at home, than risk getting something she truly wants by running away from her family.

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