The 1920s was a hard and painstaking era in American history. Many family's throughout New York lived in absolute poverty and saved week to week just to make enough to eat and pay the rent. Many Immigrants flooded the streets desperate for work while living conditions were harsh and many starved. This is just the case of the novel Bread Givers, written by Anzia Yezierska. In this story we follow Sarah Smolinsky, an ambiguous independent Jewish girl "trapped" by her religious traditions. Her story unfolds as she breaks away from her controlling parents and moves to work and go to school for hopes of being a school teacher. Her life is not easy and she must endure countless sacrifices just to get by. With the determination of her will she graduates college, but returns to her father to take care of him in his old age. In the begging of the story Sarah hates her father, and everything about him, and this relates to her hatred of his God and his traditions. From hatred of her father she refuses her Jewish traditions and religious beliefs to make a better life for her self in America. After accomplishing her goals, she can't ignore the emptiness of her fathers love. Sarah yearns with a wanting to be loved by her father. She begins feels remorse for him, and starts to remember her past and where she came from, returning slowly to her once lost traditions.
In the begging of this novel Sara Smolinsky, her Parents, and sisters Mashah, Bessie, and Fania, all live together in a small cluttered apartment. Her father, a Hassidic Jew, does not work to provide for his family, but instead preaches his family with strict spiritual guidance by studying the Torah as he pleases. Her father justifies his life style as his belief in the superiority of men. He proclaims as it says in the Torah "it says in the Torah that women came from man, and therefore women are nothing without man" (Bread Givers 15). Sarah's father is an immigrant who holds Jewish traditions as...
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