Monday, 2 March 2015

It Takes a Woman

The Beautifulness is a simple yet powerful story, as we all read it I wont detail the plot but focus more on the key points.

Hanneh is delighted with the beautifulness of the new kitchen she saved and worked so hard for, as an immigrant the going was tough for her and her family already as seen when her husband interrogates her about how she cam about the money to fix up the kitchen. It seems as if the immigrants life was made more and more difficult each and every day.

Unfortunately even though Hanneh had worked so hard for her kitchen all her landlord saw it as was another money making opportunity (although this could have happened to an American). The story is trying to portray this view that immigrants were treated poorly and lived in terrible conditions which is why it's unsurprising that Hanneh felt the need to fix up where she lived. an example of these poor conditions is when Hanneh is leading the possy of women and Mr. Sopkin to her new kitchen, the story reads 'Through the hallway of a dark, ill-smelling tenement, up two flights of crooked, rickety stairs, they filed.' This portrays a rather vivid image of the conditions the immigrants were living in and the unfortunate suffering they called "home".

I believe the moral we should be taking away from this story is that even the most strong willed people such as Hanneh, can be broken (the straw that broke the Camals back) there is only so far you can push a person and even immigrants were people though they were often treated as less than.

Moving on to Soap and Water It follows many key themes as previously discussed but also emphasises the idea of the inability to escape poverty, even following academic achievement poverty still is all consuming. 

It also focuses on the idea of filth and being dirty, there is an idea of filth that follows immigrants round, I believe even if the immigrants cleaned themselves up most people such as Miss. Whiteside would still view them as "dirty". 

Unfortunately as powerful as these stories are and it is understandable that they are focused primarily on immigrants but many of the points could be said to be applicable to non-immigrants too. Native Americans for example were treated just as poorly, if not much worse, with similar applicable moral points from these stories even some "Americans" particularly working class faced similar prejudices. 

The morals to take away from Soap and Water is that academia wasn't always the way out, especially for immigrants and that there are a number of prejudices especially in regards to cleanliness and the link that filth has to race, when I say race I mean in general immigrants.

It Takes a Woman - William S. Hubbartt
This short story solidifies some of the points about immigrants previously raised as well, such as immigrants being dirty (an Irish man is labelled as a cheater which is just yet another way of being 'dirty') furthermore the immigrant is poor. He is betting his money away which is understandable as it offers the possibility of winning lots of money back and is seen as a quicker way out of poverty.

The role of the woman is yet again pivotal in this story as it has been in the previous two, and it brings up the key idea of 'It Takes a Woman' in the previous two stories though the woman has ended up not coming out on top but in this story she does but even still there are similar gender separations seen throughout the texts. 

The main point I took away from It Takes a Woman is that no matter what gender you are within America there is the view that anyone can do the right thing and it will allow for success, this contrasts though with the previous two stories as it appears this moral doesnt apply to immigrants.

It Takes a Woman;
Anne Yezierska:

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