Anzia Yezierska: The lost "Beautifulness"
This story shows the viscous cycle of poverty in 1920 America. Throughout the story, it gives us an insight into the ideology of immigrants in America, and the belief that they can have a better life. As well as demonstrating the realities that people face.
There are a lot of moral lessons in here, especially in relation to immigrants. On one hand, you have the dream that all immigrants have. In this case, Hanneh wanted her apartment to look nice, and similar to the white upper-class Americans. "ambition to have a white-painted kitchen exactly like that...mansion. Now her own kitchen was a dream come true." This identifies that ambition is valued higher than any other morale value for the immigrants.
The idea of having a house that looks nice is essential for Hanneh as it allows her to feel as though she is just as equal of other members of the society, and can have the same lifestyle as people with money. Despite not actually owning the house or the same amount of money, it allows her to integrate and fit in with the American society. ""When I see myself around the house how I fixed it up with my own hands, I forget I'm only a nobody." Also, the fact that she considers herself a "nobody" reinforces the idea that she can never escape this poverty, despite what she achieves in her life, or how hard she works.
She believes strongly in justice, especially when the landlord increases her rent because he considers it to be of more value. This demonstrates the greed that the rich have, as he seems to have no moral values, he just wants to make money. "Because the flat is painted new, I can get more money for it." The landlord also does not take into consideration the immigrants circumstances, and the fact that her son is serving for the Unites States. Her morals are less about selfishness, and more about kindness between each other.
The fact that Hanneh feels as though she has changed, since coming to America, questions the American morals, over immigrant morals. "I ain't no more the same Hanneh Hayyeh I used to be." This proves that America has changed her, and not in a good way. Immigrants lose their good moral values like helping each other. and adopt American moral values like the landlord, greedy and only cares about making themselves rich.
Overall, this story identifies that the immigrants are not equal to the upper-class America. And she questions the better life that all immigrants are promised. "Did I wake myself from my dreaming to myself back in the black times of Russia under the Czar?" Because she is looking back at her life, and not forward with hope, it seems as though in America, you cannot leave your social-class, nor become equal, as immigrants especially, are controlled by those in a high-class.
Anzia Yezierska: Soup and Water
This is also about poverty, and the fact that you cannot escape it, even with education. From the start, the story shows that the immigrant is not being treated equal, "could not recommend me...because of my personal appearance." This is in relation to the clothes she wears, as she is not dressed as well as the others, when compared to them. However, this is because of the differences in wealth, as she cannot afford the same appearance which the others have. Poverty is holding her back from opportunities that can help get her out of poverty.
Again, this moral of determination and hard work doesn't always mean that people will become rich, as Hanneh worked hard to get an education and come out with a diploma. Yet she still can't manage to succeed, because of her circumstances.
"Soap and water are cheap. Any one can be clean." This statement suggests that anyone can achieve a respected appearance, and become successful, whether you are poor or wealthy. However, this story clearly shows that this is not the case.
Equality is definitely not shown in this story either, as Hanneh has to work 8 hours a day, outside of her studies, on order for her to become educated. Whereas people who she is competing with, haven't got the same lifestyle, yet potentially are more successful, despite the immigrant worker much harder than the average. "They had the time to rest...put on fresh clothes for dinner. But I...had only time to bold a soggy meal, and rush back to the grind of the laundry till eleven at night." This also identifies the selfishness of the societies morals. Because you have people who have nothing, working flat out, in order to sustain their current lifestyle. Whilst others achieve success much easier, as they have luxuries that they don't have to work for- enabling them to have more time in order to be successful. This shows the differences in the society "I came against the well-fed, well dressed world- the frigid whitewashed wall of cleanliness."
The story also describes how despite going to college, her opportunities were still limited, and she was still not able to escape poverty. "How I pinched, and scraped, and starved myself, to save enough to come to college! Every cent of the tuition fee I paid was drops of sweat and blood from underpaid laundry work. And what did I get for it?...a sense of poverty that I never felt before." This is a powerful statement, not just in terms of her struggle, but also her morals too. Firstly, it demonstrates that despite being poor, she still got the opportunity to attend college. Even though it was a lot harder for her than others, through the morals of hard work and determination, she managed to achieve it. However, by doing so, it also made her realise just how poor she was. As among other immigrants, she probably wasn't the poorest. But being among the upper-class, she quickly realises that she is not only poor, but is actually in poverty as well. This demonstrates the hardships she faces.
A key moral to the immigrants especially was hop. Because they had a hard life, hope was the only thing that they all could have. "in my darkest moments of despair, hope clamored loudest." Many immigrants also only had one way to achieve their goals, become successful and to fulfill their dreams they had, first arriving in America. This was to work their way up the economic and social ladder. "I tried to work myself up."
Overall, the story proves that the morals of hope, friendship and kindness can overcome hardships, and the fact that your success isn't always about wealth, but a sense of belonging and feeling equal to those who are better off.
Right of passage: Dave P. Fisher
This story is a good example of the hardships that many poor people face. As the working class family (the dad) works hard in order to make a living for the family, so when he gets killed, the children have to take over, rather than getting an education.
"He felt for the boy, but he had no place in his outfit for a boy." This has the opposite morals to the two immigrant stories, as he does feel sorry for the boy, and offers him some money. He shows kindness to others in the society.
"I don't want your charity! I ain't a beggar." This shows a moral that many upper-class people do not have; integrity. Despite obviously needing the money, he refuses and want to earn his own money to provide for his mum and family.
The boy is polite despite being rejected a job. This demonstrates his character and morals are much more important than anything else. The "Right Of Passage"is an example of this, where a boy earns to become a man, the Irish boy did this in a fight.
"When a boy becomes a man he sheds them short pants and puts on long pants and boots." This however is a problem for the boy as "I don't have long pants, or money to buy any with." This also proves the viscous cycle of poverty, as he cannot afford the appearance that the society creates, in order for him to get a job.
The fact that the employer ends up hiring the boy who is now considered a man, shows that the morals of the employer is good. Because he rejected the boy before, not because of his wealth status, but because of him not being a man. This is the opposite of the two immigrant stories, despite the boy being Irish.
Grace La Traille