Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)

Program

English

Date of Award

5-2012

Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Thomas A. Holmes

Committee Members

Katherine Weiss, Leslie A. McCallister

Abstract

Anzia Yezierska's Bread Givers and Abraham Cahan's The Rise of David Levinsky share many similarities: they both feature young Jewish protagonists who immigrate to America in search of the better life they believe America can provide. Though their novels have similar trajectories, each author answers the still relevant question of how immigrants might successfully assimilate into American culture in contrasting lights. Cahan's protagonist, in a superficial sense, achieves the "American dream," while Yezierska's Sara achieves a more modest success. However, Sara ultimately navigates the trials of cultural assimilation and identity formation more successfully. Levinsky gains monetary wealth by adapting to American values of independence and class mobility, but Sara achieves the much more valuable goal of a confident identity by tempering her embrace of these traditional American values and not rejecting her cultural origins.

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Copyright

Copyright by the authors.

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