Bread Givers by Anzia Yezierska

April 6, 2017

The city is bustling with people selling everything from fish to gum, the streets reek of poverty. New York City in the early 1900’s full of the rich and the poor. Hundreds of Russian immigrants overtake buildings meant for twenty.  Not many people see these years through the thoughts of the immigrants, but in Bread Givers by Anzia Yezierska, the thoughts of these people are expressed. Sara is young and lives in a family of six that comes from Poland. They can’t seem to find the money to sustain comfort in their new life. Day to day the females in the family work from dawn till dusk--that is if they have a job.  Sara’s life is hard, and her father doesn’t help at all. He is too worried about his religious studies and the people back home, but not his family right in front of him. One day Sara finds her chance and escapes this life that has sent so many to fail. But will she make it in this big world alone?

This novel takes readers through the struggles and achievements of people trying to find success in a new life. Over the course of this book, it also shows the strengths of women and how they can get over the barricades made by our society. It also puts an American like me into a new take on how immigrants have to adapt to a new home. The most interesting points in this book are all the events leading up to Sara’s life changing decision. Sara and her sisters go through a lot of heartbreaks and pain on their journey. She witnesses them and doesn’t want to be stuck in the same situations as her sisters. So when she finds the hole in her fate she goes through it and makes her own. All these events show how she is growing and developing into her own person. Another thing that shows how she is becoming her own person is how she tells the story. She begins by telling the story about other people and the world. Then later in the book it is no longer about other people but herself and her own choices. One lesson that is continued throughout the story is, even when it's easier to take the same path as everyone else, a person must take their own route in life to prosper.

Anzia Yezierska lived a similar life as Sara’s,with many of the same struggles and life choices. Anzia’s works look mostly at female protagonists and the Jewish culture. She keeps the word play and events in the book exciting. Sara’s choices are relatable and keep you on your toes because they can be random at times. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good read, challenging the mind, and  learning something new. This story brings the adventure of life into only a few hundred pages and creates a story most will always remember.

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