Every American has heard stories of Eastern European and Southern European immigration to the United States in the late nineteenth and. Listen as master storyteller Linda Tate reads Anzia Yezierska’s autobiographical essay, “America and I.” Learn more at. America and IAnzia Yezierska Author BiographyPlot Anzia Yezierska, known as the “Queen of the Ghetto” or “The Immigrant Cinderella,” became a.

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America, the land of opportunity, is supposed to be much different, but Yezierska finds this is not the case. She found the residence just as stifling as her family’s home. The Poems of John Dewey. The counselor emphasizes the economic aspects of a job over personal fulfillment. It compares the life of an old woman to znd of an ailing bird. How has assimilation affected the connections we have with our parents and children?

Aside from the detail that the sweatshop is located in a dark basement, she does not provide a composite that would help the reader see the reality of the sweatshop, such as the unsafe, unhealthy working conditions that characterized such places.

Anzia Yezierska: “America and I”

Her admonishment seems to tell Yezierska—and all immigrants—not to hold goals surrounding intellectual, philosophical, artistic, or creative pursuits, but instead to focus only on pragmatic ones. Her works feature elements of realism with attention to detail; she often has characters express themselves in Yiddish-English dialect. She devoted the remainder of her life to it.

She gets a job at a sweatshop sewing on buttons. Frederick Ungar Publishing Co. In From Hester Street to Hollywood: They often were only able to obtain low-paying, unskilled jobs.

Sanitation engineers worked on solving the problems of water supplywaste disposal, and pollution. The success of Anzia Yezierska’s early short stories led to a brief, but significant, relationship between the author and Hollywood.


The essence that defines Yezierska arose from a background incomprehensible to the people she meets in New York, a background based on discrimination and drudgery, on fear of sudden violence, and on a system of erratic injustice. Like her husband, the Americanized woman belittles Yezierska when she speaks to them of her wages. Once she starts to do so, she is able to achieve her dreams and to find America in helping to create it. The Life and Work of Anzia Yezierska. Play in new window Download.

A Bruccoli Clark Layman Book. How are present day immigrants’ experiences similar to or different from those of the characters in Yezierska’s stories? In America, she will be valued for her thoughts and ideas, not for the work that her hands can perform.

Despite this instant celebrity, her career was erratic: She underscores the injustice that Jewish women experienced working at menial jobs, while Jewish men stayed home and studied classical Jewish texts.

The counselor would feed the body while stifling the soul. By becoming a writer, Yezierska is able to fulfill her physical and emotional needs and to work her way out of the impoverishment that continues to entrap so many of her fellow immigrants.

America and I – Summary Summary & Analysis

Her difficulties are multifold: Library resources about Anzia Yezierska. Ultimately, Yezierska was able to work with her head, her feelings. Persea Books,— Education was seen as the key to improving these circumstances, so many adult immigrants attended English classes at night; children often attended public schools.

She mastered the English language and began to write novels, short stories, and autobiographical essays.

No longer believing that marriage and family was the ultimate goal in her life, many women asserted their independence and challenged traditional ways of looking at their roles and behaviors. Topics for Further Study. In the evenings, she went to school to learn to read and write English.


Introduction: The life and stories of Anzia Yezierska

This study guide contains the following sections: Anzia Yezierska was one of more than two million Eastern European Jews who arrived in the United States during a major wave of Jewish immigration from toseeking economic opportunity and relief from pogroms and anti-Semitism.

When her mother offers her the special latkes that she fried with love on a “stove full yeziersja coal like a millionaire,” Rachel replies, “I can’t stand your fried, greasy stuff. When Yezierska eventually complains, she throws her out of the shop. Her hope for the immigrants anaia that they persevere long enough to share their gifts. Yezierska’s experiences also take on a deeper, more universal meaning; in sharing the hard road to fulfillment of her creative goals, Yezierska chronicles the challenges that face all aspiring writers.

This article includes a list of referencesbut its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. How has immigration affected the different generations of our families?

Although her parents encouraged her yezierka to attend high school and college, she left school after only two years of elementary education and worked in sweatshops to help support her family.

Eventually, she complains, which gets her fired. As an eager newcomer, Yezierska has grand dreams of what she will find in America; to Yezierska and the millions of immigrants like her, America stands in marked contrast to Russia. They show she is a typical immigrant who will get no special privileges. Immigrants could buy kosher meats and other Jewish delicacies, attend a Jewish theater that gave performances in Yiddish, and read a newspaper published in Yiddish.