Peasant Women In Isaac Bashevis Singer's The Slave?

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Isaac Bashevis Singer’s, The Slave, is arguably one of the most captivating love stories between a Jew and a Christian, that takes place in early modern Poland. The Slave demonstrates how Polish nobility exploited their power over the peasants and how faithful Jews were even though they were being pursued for their faith. The relationships between different social class in early modern Poland were quite chaotic. Peasants had little to no how they could live their lives for they were under the control of their lord. Peasant women could be taken advantage of by their lords at any moment and bore bastards. Lords had ultimate authority in their towns, everything they said, went. At this time Cossacks were ransacking towns, raping women, and murdering …show more content…
They would lay with peasant women whenever they desired. Stephan, Zagayek’s son, “had his own crop of bastards” (Singer, 75). He had tried to get Wanda to lay with him multiple times but she resisted. Wanda described how unfair the peasants had it, “In the valley you get rich, black earth, but here it’s all stony. You could drive a cart of oxen between the stalks. We still have some rye from last year, but most of the peasants eat their knuckles. What little good earth we have belongs to the count and anyway Zagayek steals everything” (Singer, 22). This goes to show how the peasants couldn’t control their lives. They had to be settled wherever they were granted permission and they had to grant every wish of their lord. The peasants tried their best to stay on the good side of their lord, but the lord would never praise them. Wanda remarked “The nobles? They were always drunk. The peasants kissed their feet and all the thanks they got were a few strokes with a riding crop. The girls got raped; they arrived home with bloody shifts and an ache in their hearts. Nine months later they gave birth to bastards” (Singer, 23). This description is very important because Singer truly highlights how little power peasants had in society. The nobles could do what they wanted with them and they would never get …show more content…
Dziobak, the town’s priest, was rarely ever sober. The peasant believed in whatever words came out of his mouth. When he was at the bar, people were discussing Jacob and Dziobak responded “What’s there to talk about? Climb up and dispose of him in God’s name. I warned you, did I not, little brothers? I said he would bring only misfortune” (Singer, 35). His opinion about the Jew influenced the town’s and this only contributed to their hate towards the Jew. Dziobak often neglected his duties but the peasants still looked up to him. This goes to show that the peasants weren’t really that into religion and what it entailed of its followers. They were Catholic because they were told to be Catholic, if Poland had turned Jewish then all the peasants would convert to Judaism, they didn’t really care enough to argue to practice the religion of their

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