Free Report On The Book "The Bread Givers" Character Report
While reading the book “The Bread Givers” by Anzia Yezierska it is possible to see an obvious image of our history in another way rather than reading a simple text book. The author shows a story of the family of Smolinsky, Jewish immigrants that have moved to the U.S from Poland, hoping to find a wealthier life in the United States. However, in reality they find themselves in destitution and hunger. They tried to retain their customs in the new country. Nevertheless, one of the children, Sara, decided to live another life not according to the old traditions.
The head of the family, Reb Smolinsky, is a very religious person. Jobless, he although spends all the time reading the holy book – Torah. He does not know what the world is and how it works; he only reads Torah and draws upon the wisdom from it. Due to that fact he constantly fights with his family. Moreover, it is impossible for him to understand and feel that he is a trouble and causing his family a lot of problems. He believes that everything that is written there is true, no matter the context: “It says in the Torah: What’s a woman without a man? Less than nothing—a blotted out existence. No life on earth and no hope in heaven.” (Yezierska 205)
Having spent his entire according to the holy books, he is in his own world of religious study, a world that is sometimes highly uncoupled with the world where other family members live. He is very hypocritical and two-faced person, as he constantly promises to heaven to grant money for those who are in need, not noticing that outside his “bubble” his own family is on the edge of death.
As it was already mentioned he constantly has conflicts with his family. Such struggles between generations are a common subject to many books. In the ”Bread Givers” by Anzia Yezierksa, the battle of views and wills of two generations is one of the main topic. One can see clashes with the help of society, culture and of course religion. The most vivid conflict of wills is that of the main character Sara with her father. It is possible to say that due to their differences, these clashes happen to be. Moreover, other might state that due to the fact that Sara is very alike with her father, these similarities are the cause of the conflict - it is Sara’s strong will that causes the most of the conflict with her and her father.
Reb Smolinsky is not a kind or gentle man, and due to his cruelness and selfishness he turns his entire family against himself: “I no longer saw my father before me, but a tyrant from the Old World where only men were people.” (Yezierska 205)
After some time, when Sara left her parents, her father that “had given up worldly success to drink the wisdom of the Torah” (Yezierska 202) came to visit her, in her own apartment. However, even though that he gave up reading Torah, he didn’t change at all, he believed that her lifestyle was against his own religion beliefs. And when his daughter wanted to live her own life and decide on her own, Reb cursed her: “I disown you. I curse you. May your name and your memory be blotted out of this earth” (Yezierska 208).
Hence, one can come to the conclusion that while reading this novel it is possible to assume that our world has a lot of things that have not changed. We can always see an example of families where old traditions are still applied, like forced marriages. This book shows us that people are able to learn from their own mistakes. It is person’s own decision whether to follow old traditions or to create his own, unique life.
Yezierska, A. (1975). Bread givers. New York: Persea Books.