Anzia Yezierska, in The Lost Beautifulness, uses irony as a principle literary device to convey her themes of immigration to the reader. The story is built on one ironic situation after the other, even though it is not immediately clear; it only becomes apparent once the story has been read and the different incidents fixed together. The Lost Beautifulness culminates into an ending based on the layering of many events that the author subtly manipulates throughout the story. Illustrated by the strong usage of irony, Yezierska reveals the discrimination against immigrants in America and how they were often taken advantage of in many situations. Hanneh Hayyeh’s one desire in the story is to paint her kitchen white so it will be beautiful for her son’s return from the army. “ I begged myself by the landlord to paint up my kitchen, but he wouldn’t listen to me. So I seen that if I ever hoped to fix up my house, I’d have to spend my own money […]”(Yezierska). She does use her own money earned from washing extra clothes to buy the paint but really doesn’t have enough money to spend on things outside the necessary to survive. Hanneh even makes the ironical comment that “Making money ain’t everything in life” (
Ironically, the money that she offers may well have come from being a landlord herself, and quite possibly inflicting the same pain on her tenants that Hanneh is experiencing. Hanneh cannot bear the thought of someone else gaining from her hard labor after all the unfairness she has faced, so she lashes out in anger scratching down the paint and destroying the entire kitchen. She feels like there is nowhere to turn and no one to help her gain justice for the landlord"tms unfairness. Aby"tms return is suspected throughout the entire story, but he doesn"tmt actually come back home until after his mother is evicted from the house and all their belongings placed in the street. In conflict with her fight is the fact that Aby is fighting to preserve the democracy in America that is ironically placing his own mother in a hopeless situation. He does not express his true feelings about the painting until a few days later while right now he only cares about getting his money from the renters. The letter is a major turning point in the story simply because all the other events are based on the landlord"tms demand for more money. One of the visitors, a butcher, suggests that Hanneh has no worries on her mind as the reason that she gets the idea to make the room fancy. "But in the meantime, Hanneh Hayyeh, you must accept this to tide you over" (Yezierska). "From where can I squeeze out the five dollars more for you" (Yezierska) Obviously she is enraged at the landlord"tms outrageous demand since she has no money to spare. Regardless of the problems that may arise, Hanneh pleads with Mr. Hanneh is looking out for herself in painting up the kitchen for her son, but all she receives in return is a higher rent fee. In demanding more money, the landlord justifies himself by telling Hanneh that "in America everybody looks out for himself" (Yezierska).
Some topics in this essay:
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