“America and I” by Anzia Yezierska: Political Background and Interesting Facts of The Book- The American Dream is still something many people around the world are thinking about. Everyone wants to live it. You just go to America, the land of all possibilities, you find a job and live in a big city. You meet new people, taste new food, visit new places, and earn a lot of money. Many people decide to immigrate to the United States of America as they are portrayed as the perfect place to start their careers and have a really good wage. Many of the immigrants want to do this as they want to help their families, but also to develop themselves.
However, some people immigrate as they are searching for a better place to live. They immigrate because the living conditions in their countries are not acceptable, as many countries are torn by political and armed conflicts or even wars. And this was the case of Anzia Yezierska who was born in Russia, near the border with Poland and immigrated with her family to America. Who is Anzia Yezierska? What did she do and why is she considered an essential figure in the literary world?
About Anzia Yezierska
Anzia Yezierska was born in 1885 in Plinsk, but immigrated with her family to America seven years later. As part of the Jewish community in America, they struggled to make their way into the world, especially as they did not know the English language. As an immigrant, you want to find the best opportunities for yourself and your family and you are willing to work really hard to get them. As immigrants do not always have an easy life, they encounter a lot of challenges during their stay in foreign countries. The community of Eastern European Jewish immigrants was pretty big and soon Anzia took on some menial jobs.
Studying her life is something many students do around the world as her life is an example of hard work and dedication. She is proof that you must try to get what you want and deserve, even though some people are there only to put obstacles in your way. In college and university, it is crucial to come up with real-life examples that can inspire students to pursue their goals, no matter the challenges that lie ahead. You can find stundent’s essays on America and I, one of the most well-known essays Anzia wrote. Learning about the struggles of adapting to a new country and life where you do not even know the language or the culture can turn out to be motivating, but also eye-opening.
She did not have an easy life but throughout her life, she met people who helped her expand her knowledge and advance her skills. She met a group of German-Jewish women who supported her in getting into college and earning a scholarship. But, of course, she also met mean people. She worked as a maid for an American family that did not want to pay her in the end, so she left.
Anzia Yezierka wrote not only “America and I”, an autobiographical novel where she tells the story of her American experience, but also a lot of other books on how to find out who you truly are and many useful research papers. She was a literary sensation back in 1920 when she debuted with her volume of short stories called “Hungry Hearts”. Even though her popularity dwindled during her life, after her death, she became again a literary sensation and she is now known as “The Immigrant Cinderella”. Bread Givers, How I found America, Soap and Water, or The Fat of the Land are just a few of the essays, novels, and books she has written that are now acclaimed all over the world.
Political Background and Interesting Facts of the Book
As mentioned above, America and I is one of the essays she wrote where she tells the story of her family’s immigration to the United States and how she discovered life here. It is essential for today’s world too, as the illusion of the American dream is still very present in our lives. This is the main idea of the book but she also provides some interesting historical facts you should know.
One of the main themes of the essay is the poverty that many refugees in America go through. Even though she lived with her family in New York, they were living in ghettos and it was challenging for them to survive. They left Russia exactly to escape poverty and they thought that they would easily make their way to the land of possibilities, but they soon found out this is just an illusion. But more than the financial poverty she went through, she experienced a distinct type of poverty: the one of the soul. The story of creation of her books might have started exactly from this soul poverty when she needed a way to express her emotions.
“America and I” book presents the political background of the group where many immigrants came to America in search of a better life. They made the country more diverse and richer in culture, religion, and habits and helped it become what it is today.
Anzia Yezierska, also known as the Immigrant Cinderella or Queen of the Ghetto is an essential figure and American novelist. She did not have an easy life, even though her family immigrated to America to escape poverty. The land of all possibilities and dreams was not as welcoming as they expected and she experienced the poverty of the souls. However, she created some amazing literary works that are still read nowadays as they present the struggles of immigrants in America.