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Bread Givers by Anzia Yezierska - Essay Example

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Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl and Bread Givers are novels which unfold the struggles that two young girls have to face under the strict laws of their tormenters. Reb Smolinsky and Doctor Flint are the burdens of the girls lives, and they know they must escape them…
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Bread Givers by Anzia Yezierska
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Download file to see previous pages Flint is a slaveholder and owns Linda who is a black slave on his plantation. Dr. Flint is the tormenter and burden in Linda's life for all of her early years. Linda and Sara live under the ruling of these men until neither can take it any longer. Both girls eventually escape, through many struggles, to start their own life and leave their past behind.
Reb Smolinsky and Dr. Flint closely relate when it comes to the topic of work and attitude. Both put their underlings to work while they do what they want with their sufficient free time. Reb Smolinsky does not work but instead lives his life studying the Torah and memorizing every aspect of it while his daughters work full time and bring home all of their wages to him, keeping nothing for themselves. His wife waits on him hand and foot while he gets the first choice for every meal set on the table. At one point in the story when they came into some money, Sarah mentions, "Now all of us had meat for the Sabbath- not only father. And sometimes Mother had a half chicken for Father" (Yezierska 29). This shows that the father almost always had either a larger portion of meat or the only portion, never feeling bad for the rest of the family. When they moved to America, Reb made his wife and children carry his Holy books "instead of taking along feather beds, and the samovar, and the brass pots and pans like other people"(Yezierska 8). He only thought of himself and what he wanted for his daughters and wife.
Reb Smolinsky's cold, selfish attitude and undesirable personality can also be seen in Dr. Flint. Dr. Flint also had his slaves waiting on him hand and foot while he got to eat whatever he wanted and tells them to do whatever it was he wanted them to do. He realizes the extent of his authority and uses it constantly as to remind Linda of the absence of her freedom and the extent of his tyranny. At one point, Dr. Flint says to Linda, "Never look to me for help. You are my slave, and shall always be my slave. I will never sell you, that you may depend upon." (Jacobs 60). Here he is making his authority and her inferiority clear to put her hopes down and raise his pride up.
Even though Reb Smolinsky and Dr. Flint have similar ways of treating Sara and Linda, the basis of their treatments have different sources. Dr. Flint does not study readings of the Torah or of any religion for that matter. He seems to be against it in some ways and does not attend church regularly until a certain point in the novel. His dictatorship is based upon the fact that Linda is a slave and he treats her so. He constantly reminds Linda that she is not free and never will be unless he is present in her life. Reb Smolinsky does base all of his rules around his religion and nothing else. He tries to make Sara and his entire family live their lives under the ruling of the Holy Torah. His strict attitude is always reflected by the Torah's dictations. Although both men have similar harsh attitudes and rules for their underlings, there are also many differences between these. The Holy Torah consists of standards which are considered "right" by Reb Smolinsky and he believes that one must live this way in order to obtain a place in Heaven. He constantly dictates Sara and the rest of the family by quoting the Holy Torah and reminding them that this is the right way to live and they must abide by it. Dr. Flint is not so concerned with obtaining a place in Heaven or ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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