Week 4 Readings

The book Bread Givers follows Sara Smolinsky and her family, they are a family of Jewish Immigrants and they are struggling to make ends meet. Sara’s father is very focused on studying the Torah, as he believes only men can speak with god and that it is a mans role to pray to get into heaven and his family can come as well to serve him. Sara’s sister Masha is another very memorable character as she is very focused on looking her best, Sara explains that her sister often spends her earnings on only herself and gets by off of men who find her pretty paying for her meals, Sara is a hard worker and so are her sisters, Bessie spends much of her time providing for the family. Her mother spends a lot of her time cooking for the father and when they are almost kicked out of their apartment it was her idea to rent the spare room. Throughout the book, we see the father’s controlling manner. When Bessie and Masha try to get married the father does not approve of the men and kicks them out and also tries to arrange marriages for all the girls. Sara struggles with her relationship with her father, sometimes understanding him, but also mainly ending in disappointment, however of his children she follows his religious teachings the most strictly. Sara goes to college and manages to make her way out of poverty. When she starts working her mother dies and her father remarries pretty soon after. Mrs. Feinstein is the new wife and she does not like living in poverty and asks the girls for money. Sara eventually goes on to marry the principle Hugo Seelig, who her father actually approves of. In this story, we see Sara struggle with her relationship with her father and also with making money as a woman in America. I thought one of the interesting things about the novel was the father’s preconceptions about life in America, he was not a character who was very grounded in reality.

One thought on “Week 4 Readings

  1. I found the father of the story to be interesting as well, but mostly from the perspective that he will willingly hurt his family to maintain his ‘values’ despite many of them being contradictions. I found Sara’s journey to be relatable as many people have likely also had to consolidate the fact that their parents are not good people despite being people they once looked up to. It’s also interesting seeing how Sara still incorporates her religious values into her life but is still condemned by others for not following the path they believed she needed to follow. I thought Masha was also an interesting character and how her development, but I thought that her family did not give her enough credit for her contributions and ability.

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