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. Yezierska, like the female characters, experienced the loneliness of separation from the Jewish people when she rose above poverty. "I am alone because I left my own world" (Ebest 8). She explores this issue repeatedly in her work trying to find a solution to a problem with no easy answer.
In order to obtain religious, social, political, and equality 23 million Jews immigrated to America during the years between 1880 and 1920 (Chametzky, 5). Anzia Yezierska wrote about her experiences as a poor immigrant in her fictional work becoming a voice of the Jewish people in the1920s. She struggled to obtain an education that allowed her to rise above her family’s poverty and gain a measure of autonomy. Rachel and Sara, the female protagonists, mirror the author’s life going from struggling immigrant to college graduate. Yezierska uses her own experiences to portray the Jewish immigrant experience with a woman’s perspective. She successfully gained a commercial following that allowed her to mediate the cultural differences between the mainstream culture and the Jewish people that helped resolve differences between the established Americans and these new immigrants for a time (Ebes...
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...iable to a particular ethnic identification. Freedom in America is not free; each immigrant ethnic group loses their culture identity eventually but they also add to the diverse American voice.
Chametzky, Jules. Introduction. ." Jewish American Literature. Ed. Jules Chametzky,
John Felstiner, Hilene Flanzbaum, and Kathryn Hellerstein. New York: W.W. Norton, 2001. 1-23.
Ebest, Ron. "Anzia Yezierska and the Popular Periodical Debate Over the Jews."
The Society for the Study of the Multi-Ethnics Literature of the United States. Spring 2000
Gale Literary Database. 2001. Gale Group
Yezierska, Anzia. Bread Givers. New York: Persea Books, 1925.
---. "Children of Loneliness." Jewish American Literature. Ed. Jules Chametzky,
John Felstiner, Hilene Flanzbaum, and Kathryn Hellerstein. New York: W.W. Norton, 2001. 233-244.
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