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. 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.
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SparkNotes is here for you with everything you need to ace or teach! Find out more. Bread Givers is a novel by Anzia Yezierska that was first published in Read a Plot Overview of the entire book or a chapter by chapter Summary and Analysis. Here's where you'll find analysis about the book as a whole. Find the quotes you need to support your essay, or refresh your memory of the book by reading these key quotes.
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Yezierska emerged from it, too. She wrote largely autobiographical fiction, which helps give this novel its sense of authenticity. Bread Givers trains its lens over the beehive of the Lower East Side. The characters speak in sinuous Yiddish-English. Only skin and bones—but such quick hands! It burns in her an engine!
Anzia Yezierska’s “Bread Givers:” A Lens on the Beehive of the Lower East Side
Her parents are from Poland in the Russian Empire. The Smolinskys are destitute; Sara's father devotes his time to the study of the Torah and Jewish sacred texts and refuses to help provide for the family's income. Sara's mother rents out the front room of their tenement to boarders after convincing her husband to move his sacred texts under her bed in order to have money to pay for rent. The Smolinskys' struggle to pay their rent to the landlord, resulting in a confrontation between the landlord's rent collector and Reb Smolinsky. The rent collector demands the two months of past-due rent while Reb Smolinsky recites a hymn. Reb Smolinsky explains he does not have the money. In anger, the rent collector slams the Torah shut, causing the book to fall at her feet.
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