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Immigration and Generations: Anzia Yezierska's Children of Loneliness

Children of Loneliness, a short story by immigrant writer Anzia Yezierska, illustrates how one young woman's struggle to find her own place in American society tears her from her parents and their way of life.

Anzia Yezierska

Anzia Yezierska turned the frustrations and indignities she suffered in New York’s tenements into novels and short stories that depicted the lives of Jewish immigrants.

Los Angeles film debut of Anzia Yezierska's "Hungry Hearts"

December 3, 1922

In her short stories and novels, author Anzia Yezierska focused on the challenges faced by young Jewish women trying to navigate between their im

"New York Times" reviews Yezierska's "Bread Givers"

September 13, 1925

Anzia Yezierska's best-known novel, Bread Givers, received a glowing review in the New York Times on September 13, 1925.

Anzia Yezierska

Having immigrated with her family from Eastern Europe, Yezierska chronicled the hunger of her generation of newly arrived Jewish Americans around the turn of the century. Her novels, short stories, and autobiographical writing vividly depict both the literal hunger of poverty and the metaphoric hunger for security, education, companionship, home, and meaning—in short, for the American dream.

Settlement Houses in the United States

Jewish women have played significant roles as benefactors, organizers, administrators, and participants in American settlement houses. Settlement houses, founded in the 1880s in impoverished urban neighborhoods, provided recreation, education, and medical and social service programs, primarily for immigrants.

Film Industry in the United States

The history of Jewish women’s contribution to the Hollywood film industry has been one of gradual progression toward ever higher levels of participation. For most of Hollywood’s history, the dominant tendency was to achieve a universal image that revealed no traces of ethnic heritage. This trend held until the 1960s and affected all ethnic groups. Only a few dozen Jewish actors were able to make their way into stardom under these constraints. Since the 1960s, however, Hollywood films have reflected a higher degree of ethnic diversity. The result of this change is that increasing numbers of Jewish actors have been able to establish careers in Hollywood.

Fiction in the United States

Literature by American Jewish women reflects historical trends in American Jewish life and indicates the changing issues facing writers who worked to position themselves as Americans, Jews, and women.

Autobiography in the United States

Accounts of the immigrant experience, of feminist and/or activist involvement, of the changing role of women in Jewish and American life, as well as literary and political autobiographies, Holocaust survival narratives, and coming-of-age memoirs are all categories of autobiography to which American Jewish women have contributed copiously.

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