What does it mean to be an individual? How do you define your individuality under the spotlight of cultural traditions? While reading Anzia Yezierska’s Bread Givers, I was struck by the author’s translucent scrutiny of the oppression of women’s individuality. Yezierska calls into question the limited roles offered to women in traditional families and the […]Read more "Bread Givers and the Oppression of Individuality"
Children almost always push back against the identity their parents assign them. There were three short stories we read for this week in which children struggled with older generations to define their identities, both as Americans and as immigrants, as well as their notions of success and a good life. Although each story addressed these […]Read more "Who Are You?"
Where can you go to enjoy delicious Indian chicken tikka masala, Korean kimchi and Ethiopian kitfo all in the same place? The answer, not surprising to foodies, is most urban areas in the United States. Indians, Koreans, and Ethiopians are part of a new wave of immigrants to America, and, much like earlier Italian, Irish, […]Read more "Bagels or Bust!"
The fast approach of Valentine’s Day has colored my academic lenses. Though some contend this is a holiday created by greeting card companies, I love the grocery store aisles of red and pink. I could (and have) spent more time than I care to admit reading card after card in store after store, all in […]Read more "In the Spirit of Love"
“It says in the Torah, only through a man has a woman an existence”.  Groan. Throughout Anzia Yezierska’s Bread Givers, Reb Smolinsky makes multiple, groan-inducing comments about women needing men to become more than what they are. Such remarks likely elicit groans in nearly every reader. Yet, regarding the novel’s protagonist Sara Smolinsky, some […]Read more "I Struggle, Therefore I Am"
Reading through the New York Times after class today I was pleased to find this great article on Wal-Mart’s plan to give a proposed 2 billion dollars to food programs for the poor over the next five years. The article discusses many of the issues we talked about in class today such as the fact […]Read more "Wal-Mart gets Charitable"
In truth, I’m American. My passport says that I am American. My parents and grandparents were American citizens. Yet, when asked that question; What are you? Americans typically answer with their heritage. Why is that? In this country at the turn of the century, Americanization was the goal of most young immigrants. So, from where […]Read more "“So, what are you?”, “I’m Irish.”"
All Sara Smolinsky wanted was to be a person. For our Russian Jew immigrant protagonist of Bread Givers, it would take much of her formative years to figure out how to do that. She had to become independent of the ways of her family, and the Old World, where “only men were people.”  For […]Read more "A Person is 60 Percent Water, the Rest is Blood and Iron (and Education)"