Willa Cather's Alexandra Bergson And Bread Givers Analysis

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The environment in which one lives influences many aspects of life. O Pioneers by Willa Cather’s Alexandra Bergson and Bread Givers by Anzia Yezierska’s Sara Smolinsky have very different lifestyles and outlooks based on the environments in which they reside, and the attitudes of their fathers. Sara’s urban environment exposes her to a different type of poverty, while Alexandra is more isolated on her farmland with her family, and the decisions that they make are influenced by the land, as they are both tied to it in one way or another, and the morals and punishments that have been impressed upon them by their fathers, John and Moishe. Sara is striving to break free of the land that is her home, and striving to get out of the ghetto. Her …show more content…
These are the words that Sara Smolinsky’s father says to her after finding out that she has rejected yet another “nice” man. Her wanting an occupation and a room for herself is what he considers “lawless”(p204). Sara’s father also tried to make her stay in the land that he occupied, but unlike Alexandra’s father he does not trust her to make her own decisions. The reason Alexandra stays with her family is because John Bergson trusts her judgement, and wants her to make smart decisions for the family’s land. Reb Smolinsky wants Sara to stay as an exercise of his control, and because he does not trust Sara’s head, and does not want her to make decisions for herself. He does not think that any woman should be allowed to make decisions for herself, as he states when he says, “woe to America where women are let free like men”(p205). Wherever Sara goes her past environment and upbringing follows her. She always keeps Hester St in her heart, saying “But as I walked along through Hester Street toward the Third Avenue L, my joy hurt like guilt”(ch21). Because of the fact that she has come up from nothing into the middle class, she knows the pain of poverty, and that is why she is different from her middle class counterparts. She knows that by simply earning her wage, she is oppressing those below her, and standing on their backs, while they go to college to party, disregarding their …show more content…
The old world is impressed into Sara by her father’s sermons, and his verbally abusive ways, while Alexandra is reminded of the old world by Ivar, and the old people in her community who like to wear nightcaps to bed, and to walk barefooted. It is more gentle in her case, because her father was a more gentle man, and did not hide behind his customs to oppress her. When he was alive he listened to her even from a young age, letting her direct him on how much food to store during the winter, and how much stock to purchase. He recognized that she was wise beyond her

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