Son from America

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Examining the Emotions Cultivated by the Author in “The Son from America”
Isaac Bashevis Singer published “The Son from America” and includes a large influence from his life. Singer was born in a Jewish village in Poland (887), and the context in which he lived truly colors this short story. The story opens by introducing a small village called Lentshin, and the author is sure to make the readers note that it is small and quaint. A man named Berl and his wife, Berlcha, live there quietly and simply. They have a son who left for America and continually sends money back to help them out financially. When the son comes home, Singer effectively shows these two different worlds coming back together. Singer cultivates within the reader an interesting dichotomy of emotions toward Berl and Berlcha that leave the reader to sift through his or her feelings of pity, adoration, compassion, and even perhaps feelings of envy.

When Singer introduces readers to Berl and Berlcha, they get a clear picture of a simple old couple; they live a simple life of simple values. Singer introduces their “tiny” village of Lentshin as “a sandy marketplace” and the hut in which Berl and Berlcha live is the “smallest” in the village (887). Their goat also lives with them in this small hut, and this conveys a very real sense of simplicity that carries just a pinch of poverty. Again poverty is hinted at when they do not have candles for reading after dark because after all what is “wrong with a wick in a dish of oil?” (887). We will find out later that they are not incredibly poor, but at this moment the reader is unaware of this fact. These details all help to color this picture of the simple old couple. They live modestly, if not primitively, and the reader ends up feeling sorry for Berl and Berlcha. We even feel think of them as ignorant when we learn that they receive money orders from their son and simply cash them, never using them. This makes Berl and Berlcha appear to be naïve in the...
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