Her father, an Orthodox rabbi, is stuck in the traditions of the old world and will not tolerate Saras longing for independence.
She achieved fame in the s for her efforts to accurately represent the Jewish ghettos of New York, and particularly the female immigrant experience, without resorting to caricature or condescension.
During her life and career, Yezierska displayed a masterful ability to reinvent herself when she deemed it necessary or useful — she was, in addition to her often troubled identification as wife and mother, a reluctant teacher, translator, successful author and screenwriter.
Yezierska has often been critiqued as an author who merely examines her own life through her fiction but although her life certainly informs her writing, it does not define its limitations.
Her work demonstrates a desire to interrogate the immigrant experience — and particularly the experience of immigrant women — more thoroughly than merely through the lens of her own life.
Born around in the Jewish Pale of Settlement, in the Russian Empire, Yezierska immigrated with her family to New York when she was about nine years of age, where they settled in the Jewish slums of the Lower East Side in the s. As an adult, Yezierska published five novels, five collections of short stories and innumerable articles.
Her most famous works are the novels Bread Givers and Salome of the Tenements which both explore the difficulties of a young Jewish immigrant in New York during the early twentieth century.
However, she was frustrated by her alienation from the Jewish ghetto which had provided her with inspiration, and also by what she considered to be the insincere nature of Hollywood. She continued to write until shortly before her death in her eighties, though she found it harder to publish as interest in her work had waned.
Interestingly, it would seem that contemporary reviews were quite mixed in their reception of Bread Givers.
Schoen Anzia Yezierska Schoen notes that some Jewish audiences were even less enthusiastic, and seemed to miss the careful modulation of language, and indeed the fact that English is used to carefully suggest the Yiddish of the ghettoes without parodying the speakers. Contemporary reviews focused on the language in the novel, though they do not mention the progression from broken English to flowing eloquence at the close of the novel as the central character progresses in both education and self-awareness.
In the course of her writing, Yezierska drew heavily on her own life experiences. Bread Givers As suggested above, Yezierska drew heavily on her own life though she also drew upon the experiences of her sisters and friends when writing.
She eventually returns home to Hester Street as a teacher, only for her mother to die and leave Sara with a difficult decision to make: If her father were to live with them, it would mean a return to the world Sara struggled to escape, as her father would expect her to follow the Jewish religious calendar and to keep to the strict kosher dietary restrictions.
However, Sara cannot abandon her father to live with his domineering second wife in absolute poverty, and so the novel ends with a sense of unease, as Sara does not entirely escape her father, and his traditions, which problematises the process of her Americanisation and freedom.
For them, immigration indeed offers possibilities not available in the Old World. However, like Yezierka, Sara Smolinsky rejects such a trajectory and instead fights to create a different existence. Throughout the majority of Bread Givers Sara Smolinsky lives in terrible conditions and struggles to find a space in which she can live her life as she wishes.
It was now time for dinner. I was throwing the rags and things from the table to the window, on the bed, over the chairs, or any place where there was room for them.
So much junk we had in our house that everyone put everything on the table. It was either to eat on the floor or for me the job of cleaning off the junk pile three times a day. The parlour became a sleeping room at night. His wife and daughters are forbidden from interfering with his studies, and when the landlady dares to throw a book on the floor when demanding the overdue rent, Reb Smolinsky demands justice for this indignity in court.
His victory over the Gentile landlady becomes both a signal of his importance, as well as the respect that he expects to be given to his scholarship and texts. Outside, there is both enough space to gather large groups together but also a sense of freedom which cannot be accessed within the dark and cramped tenement buildings.
But even though she is still living in squalor — in a basement room that holds a bed with broken feet, shredded sheets and a lumpy mattress — she is thankful for the privacy it affords her as she can study in peace there: In the contemporary community of Jewish immigrants, respectable unmarried women did not leave the parental home to live alone — and so Sara finds it difficult to find a room to rent.
In her new home she is free to leave books out, have papers strewn about and to study as long into the night as she would like, without having to move items for others or to compromise her studies for the demands of others.
The room, while far from ideal with neighbours above who throw their waste out the windows without concern for what or whom it may fall upon, affords Sara the privacy she longs for, though not the aesthetic pleasure of cleanliness or tidiness.
Her joy over the door, with which she can shut the rest of the world out, is enough to render the room acceptable and comfortable to her.
She revels in the solitude and peace that her new home affords her: I loved the bright dishes from which I ate. I loved the shining pots and pans in which I cooked my food.“To Make For Myself a Person”: Immigrant Identities in Anzia Yezierska’s Bread Givers.
Katie Ahern. University College Cork. Anzia Yezierska was a Jewish-American writer, most popular in the s, and best known for her texts on the struggles of immigrants in America. Generational Differences in Yezierska’s Bread Givers Anzia Yezierska’s most-taught novel, Bread Givers, "is an extensive observation of relationships in an immigrant family of .
Generational Differences in Yezierska’s Bread Givers Anzia Yezierska’s most-taught novel, Bread Givers, "is an extensive observation of relationships in an immigrant . Analyzing the Bread Givers Bread Givers, by Anzia Yezierska, is a novel about Sara Smolinsky, and her struggle remaining in the old world The Bread Givers Essay Megan Allen Mrs.
Sze Some may say that these two characters clash because of their differences. Others might say that it their similarities that cause the clash. Essay on Generational Differences in Yezierska’s Bread Givers - Generational Differences in Yezierska’s Bread Givers 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).
The Struggle for Independence in a New World The Struggle for Independence in a New World The Struggle for Independence in a New World In Anzia Yezierskas novel Bread Givers, we learn about a struggle between Sara Smolinsky and her urbanagricultureinitiative.com father, an Orthodox rabbi, is stuck in the traditions of the old world and will not tolerate Saras longing for independence.