Discussion Guide for Bread Givers by Anzia Yezierska

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Discussion Guide for Bread Givers by Anzia Yezierska

  1. What does the father in this "memoir" see as the obligations of a father? mother? daughters? What are his values based on?

  1. What do Bessie, Fania, Mashah, and Sara believe are their obligations as daughters? Why might Sara be different?

  1. What is the mother's role in the interplay between father and daughters? Does it change over time?

  1. What are the mother's and father's attitudes toward Americans (as family members) and their daughters as Americans?

  1. How does college change Sara?

  1. Given the way that her family has treated her, why does Sara go back?

  1. If the parents believe that their daughter's role in life is to be a wife/mother, why are they so proud that she is a "teacherin?"

  1. Describe Sara's struggle between her obligations to her father and her obligations to self once her mother dies?

  1. Why is Sara so bothered by her "step mother?"

  1. What would you say are the central differences between Sara and her father? Are these the result of typical generational differences or immigrant status?

11. How would you describe Yezierska's connection to the old world? to the new world?

  1. According to Yezierska, how do Jewish women encounter the old world and try to reconcile it with the new? Why does Sara leave home and stay away for six years? How does Sara respond to being cut off from her culture and past?

  1. Describe Sara's mother's life? Is she bitter? Why does she live like this?

  1. How does Sara's (and other women's) experiences in the marketplace/earning a living set them apart from the men?

  1. What is Yezierska trying to say about a Jewish woman's decision to give up

marriage/childbearing as her primary role?

  1. According to Yezierska, is there any reconciliation between the legitimate search for self-fulfillment and duty to family?

17. As a first generation immigrant, what kind of parent do you think Sara will be? What

will she expect of her children?

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