Anzia Yezierska’s most-taught novel, Bread Givers, "is an extensive observation of relationships in an immigrant family of early 20th century America" (Sample 1). Noticeably, one of the most fascinating qualities of Yezierska’s work is that, though most readers probably come from significantly different backgrounds than that of her characters, she writes in a manner that allows her stories to be discussed in contemporary terms, (Drucker 1) while simultaneously illustrating the immigrant experience. Particularly, this phenomenon can be seen in her portrayal of certain generational conflicts. In Bread Givers, Yezierska depicts the struggle of finding one’s self in life, a notion that all readers are familiar with. Yet, throughout the novel she reveals how this struggle is different for immigrants, as it is complicated by the fact that they must "fight their own wars in finding their place between the Old World from which they have come, and the New World in which they are struggling to survive"
(Sample 1). Perhaps the most intriguing relationship in this novel is that of Reb Smolinsky and his youngest daughter, Sara, as it serves to reveal this generational conflict through tensions over assimilation, such as their perspectives on the American Dream and individualization, and also through their varying expectations in life.
Though most immigrant texts do not tell the whole story of the immigrant experience, generally, every immigrant text discusses one or more of the stages in the immigrant narrative. Yezierska’s novel, Bread Givers, is centered around stage four of the immigrant narrative. This stage is concerned with assimilation to the dominant American c...
... middle of paper ...
He, Qiang Shan. "Chinese-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. 44-65.
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.
Pilcer, Sonia. "2G." Visions of America Personal Narratives from the Promised Land. Ed. Wesley Brown and Amy Ling. 4th ed. New York: Peresea Books, 1993. 201-206.
Yezierska, Anzia. Bread Givers. New York: Persea Books, 1999.
---. "Soap and Water." Imagining America Stories from the Promised Land. Ed. Wesley Brown and Amy Ling. 8th ed. New York: Peresea Books, 1991. 105-110.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Anzia Yezierska’s 1925 novel Bread Givers ends with Sara Smolinsky’s realization that her father’s tyrannical behavior is the product of generations of tradition from which he is unable to escape. Despite her desire to embrace the New World she has just won her place in, she attempts to reconcile with her father and her Jewish heritage. The novel is about the tension inherent in trying to fit Old and New worlds together: Reb tries to make his Old World fit into the new, while Sara tries to make her New World fit into the Old.... [tags: Bread Givers]
1051 words (3 pages)
- Immigrant Reality Exposed in Bread Givers 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.... [tags: Bread Givers Essays]
3301 words (9.4 pages)
- Freedom is Not Free in Bread Givers Anzia Yezierska in Bread Givers and "Children of Loneliness" explores the theme of reconciling assimilation to American culture and retaining her cultural heritage. "Richard F. Shepard asserted in the New York Times that Yezierska’s people…did not want to find themselves. They wanted to lose themselves and find America" (Gale Database 8). Rachel and Sara, the main characters, move ahead by employing the America motto of hard work will pay off. The problem for both is losing their Jewish identity in the process.... [tags: Bread Givers Essays]
2199 words (6.3 pages)
- The Struggle in Bread Givers Several changes have occurred since the 1920s in traditional family values and the family life. Research revealed several different findings among family values, the way things were done and are now done, and the different kinds of old and new world struggles. In Anzia Yezierska's Bread Givers, Sara and her father have different opinions of what the daughters' role should be. Sara believed that she should be able to choose what her life will be, because it is her life.... [tags: Bread Givers Essays]
1384 words (4 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.... [tags: Bread Givers Essays]
776 words (2.2 pages)
- Anzia Yezierska's Bread Givers Anzia Yezierska's Bread Givers attacks several social norms of both her traditional Polish homeland and the American life her protagonist has come to know. Clearly autobiographical, Bread Givers boldly questions why certain social and religious traditions continue throughout the centuries without the slightest consideration for an individual's interests or desires. Sara's traditional Jewish upbringing exposed her to a life dominated by patriarchal control; when she arrived in New York to seek out the American Dream, she found that once again her gender would stand in the way of such desires.... [tags: Bread Givers Yezierska Essays]
1254 words (3.6 pages)
- 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.... [tags: Bread Givers]
1522 words (4.3 pages)
- Anzia Yezierska’s novel Bread Givers and Assimilation of Jews An entire chapter of Eric Liu’s memoir, The Accidental Asian, is founded on the supposition that Jews today serve as a metaphor for assimilation into American culture. According to Liu, this is due to the ease with which Jews have been able to assimilate. However, the progress that Jews have made in embracing and affecting America has been gradual rather than instantaneous, as evidenced by the character Sara Smolensky in Anzia Yezierska’s novel Bread Givers.... [tags: Anzia Yezierska Bread Givers Jews essays]
1293 words (3.7 pages)
- Clashing of Wills 	 	Conflict between generations is a common them to many novels. In the novel"Bread Givers", by Anzia Yezierksa, the clashing of wills of two generations is one major theme. We see clashes through culture, generations, community, religion,generations, and many others. The most prominent clash of wills is that of the protagonist Sara with her father Moisha or Reb Smolinsky. Some may say that these two characters clash because of their differences.... [tags: essays research papers fc]
1675 words (4.8 pages)
- In Anzia Yezierska’s novel entitled Bread Givers, there is an apparent conflict between Reb Smolinsky, a devout Orthodox rabbi of the Old World, and his daughter Sara who yearns to associate and belong to the New World. Throughout the story, one learns about the hardships of living in poverty, the unjust treatment of women, and the growth of a very strong willed and determined young woman—Sara Smolinsky. After leaving Poland to venture out into the New World of America, the Smolinsky family endured impoverished lifestyles and countless hardships.... [tags: essays research papers]
1932 words (5.5 pages)