Essay on Bread Givers And Nella Larsen 's Novel

1653 Words Dec 6th, 2015 7 Pages
The early 20th century was not a particularly good era for women. During this time of womanhood, the conventions were to get married and have children. In Anzia Yezierska’s novel, Bread Givers and Nella Larsen’s novel, Quicksand, the female protagonists desire more than marriage and find a place for themselves to be independent, stable women. Bread Givers and Quicksand explore the image of American female identity in the early 20th century. Sara and Helga both struggle with their gender identities and racial backgrounds that manifest in different ways , shaping their journey into finding a place to call their own. In this quote the narrator describes her yearning “A lack somewhere. Always she had considered it a lack of understanding on the part of the community, but in her present new revolt she realized that the fault had been partly hers. She hadn’t really wanted to be made over” (Larson 7) this quote explores that Sara and Helga want to be free.
Bread Givers and Quicksand explore the struggles with racial and ethnic identity through Sara and Helga’s experiences of passing and their denial of access mobility because of their racial and ethnic identity. Throughout Sara’s experiences with her ethnic identity, Reb Smoslisky represents Jewish traditional identity in her life. In the novel, Sara felt that her father was a tyrant to her family, and that he ruined her sisters lives by his matchmaking. Each man he picks represents the worst in Jewish American men as he picks…

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