What it Means to Be a Female Immigrate In the novel, Bread Givers, author Anzia Yezierska tells the story of life as an immigrate in the Untied States. For many immigrates, the U.S. was the key to a better life; a life free of economic depression and religious oppression. America was a fantasy to many. Sara's father lectures to his wife about not needing a feather bed; "Don't you know it is always summer in America? And in the new golden country, where milk and honey flows free in the streets, you'll have new golden dishes to cook in…"(Bread Givers, 9) To much dismay, the realization that America was not a land of golden streets comes too quickly. Flooded with people, New York's Lower East Side becomes a place of poverty for most. Immigrates find themselves living in slums, where dirt and disease runs rampant. Life was arduous for immigrates. However, according to Yezierska, life as a female was much worse. In the 1920's, an immigrates' gender ultimately decided what experience he/she would have in America, for it was better to be a male than a fema
Yes, men had to work during this time as well but they received better jobs, better pay and did not have to wait in crowded lines for a half a day only to find out the position had been filled. In order to get into Heaven, a women had to have a man at her side. Sara finds this out when the cafeteria lady refuses to give her a piece of meat with her stew, while the man behind her gets "thick chunks of meat. America, the "New World, was mingled with different cultures. The struggles of being female were not confined to the house; it leaked out into the work place as well. " In the work place, men had a level of respect that was given freely to them; women had to work for this respect which hardly ever came. Males could get a job without a great deal of hassle, furthermore they were not ridiculed when the desire to attend college arouse. In Russia, the "Old World", it was preached that a woman was only on Earth to make her husband happy. Since, Rabbi Smolinsky devoted all his time to prayer and the Synagogue, the task of feeding the family was left to the mother and daughters. This can be seen after the father drove away Jacob, Bessie's true love. In the end, Sara was able to break her ties with the "Old World" and become an American. It was said that men were the bread givers, but that notion was twisted in Sara's home. " To this Sara replies, "But why did she give more to the man just because he was a man"(Bread Givers, 169) Here again, if only Sara was a man she would not have had to gone through the embarrassment of getting food.