For thousands of years people have left their home country in search of a land of milk and honey. Immigrants today still equate the country they are immigrating to with the Promised Land or the land of milk and honey. While many times this Promised Land dream comes true, other times the reality is much different than the dream. Immigration is not always a perfect journey. There are many reasons why families immigrate and there are perception differences about immigration and the New World that create difficulties and often separate generations in the immigrating family. Anzia Yezierska creates an immigration story based on a Jewish family that is less than ideal. Yezierska’s text is a powerful example of the turmoil that is created in the family as a result of the conflict between the Old World and the New World.
The Smolinsky family in Bread Givers immigrates to the United States due to political strife. They actually leave Russia as an indirect result of the father’s refusal to serve in the army. His refusal is based on his religious beliefs. The mother, Shenah Smolinsky, explained the reason to Sara, the narrator, by saying, "The tsar of Russia [ …] wanted to tear your father away from his learning and make him a common soldier" (33). The family buys the father out of the army. Then due to the sudden death of Mrs. Smolinsky’s father, Mr. Smolinsky takes over his father-in-law’s business. Mr.Smolinsky’s business knowledge is hindered by his dedication to his religion and the business is forced to close. Thus, Mr. Smolinsky took to heart the American Dream, "And when everything was gone from us, then our only hope was to come to America, where Father thought things cost n...
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Krupnick, Mark.. "Jewish-American Literature." New Immigrant Literatures in the United States: A Sourcebook to Our Multicultural Literary Heritage. Ed. Alpana Sharma Knippling. WEstport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1996. 295-308.
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