Bread Givers Paper

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Jessica Greenwell

History 109-001

Presented to Mr. Karantabias, University of Kentucky

Due: September 16, 2011

The novel, Bread Givers written by Anzia Yezierska is a coming-of-age novel about a Jewish-American girl. This book covers broad topics of American history such as Americanization, how old world values clashed with new world values, and the search for independence. The novel’s protagonist, Sara Smolinsky is better suited than her family for America because of her ability to cope with change. Throughout this essay, I will examine how Sara deals with her different perspective of America compared to that of her family and how she is able to replace her old world values with American values. I will also examine how Sara’s search for independence leads her to reconcile with her father. What is America? However simple this question may seem, it strikes many different answers because it means different things for different people. In the novel, Reb Smolinsky and his family differ on their ideas of the process of Americanization. “America will come to my feet to learn.” Mr. Smolinsky believes that going to America is a process that will help him to spread his beliefs to more people. He taught his family that America would be a place of economic possibilities when he says “the new golden county, where milk and honey flow free in the streets…” He believed that taking his family to America would allow the women in the household to find jobs that would support the whole family, while he would be able to read the Torah and preach his messages. Sara Smolinsky differs in her opinion of what the process of Americanization involves. She understands that in America, things are not given out freely—they must be earned. Her independence throughout the novel helps to explain her understanding for this concept. This understanding is exemplified when her family is unable to pay the rent and her sisters are unable to find work. Sara decides to help...
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