Anzia Yezierska

Born in the Russian-Polish village Plinsk, near Warsaw, between 1880 and 1885, the youngest of nine children, Yezierska arrived in the United States with her family in the early 1890s.

Immigrating with her family from the Russian Pale of Settlement to the United States in the early 1890s , Anzia Yezierska turned the frustrations and indignities she suffered in New York’s tenements into stories that depicted the lives of Jewish immigrants. In 1915, she published her first short story, “Free Vacation House,” about the humiliations charitable organizations perpetrate on the women they claim to help. In 1922, her collection Hungry Hearts was made into a silent film.

Yezierska’s fiction focuses on Jewish immigrant life at the turn of the century, and she sees herself as giving voice to her people. Her work features female protagonists and explores the transition from “greenhorn” to American; the struggle against patriarchy, poverty, and restrictive Jewish practice; the striving for acceptance, independence, and prosperity in the New World; and the cultural and personal gain and loss inherent to assimilation. Yezierska pays particular attention to the hardships of poverty for women saddled with childcare and crowded conditions, and utterly financially dependent on husbands.Her work fell into obscurity until the 1975 reissue of Bread Givers

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