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Clashing Values in a Society Conflicts within Reb Smolinsky in Anzia Yezierskas Bread Givers Values and status are linked together in every society Status is given to the persons who embody the values of that social construct The values of the Old Country Russia were those of spiritual and religious piousness and learning Therefore those who studied religion like Reb Smolinsky were among those who held the highest status However in America these values were not the same Immigrants soon learned of the capitalist nature of a materialistically driven land where whoever had the most wealth held the most status The question arises what happens when people in a society with one set of values enter a society with different values To assimilate successfully the immigrants values must undergo a change In her novel Bread Givers Anzia Yezierska tells the tale of an immigrant family who has difficulty coping with such a clash of values Reb Smolinsky in particular is a character that craves his status so much so that he changes his values in America and adopts something he doesnt understand thus ruining his family Jews in Russia lived differently than they did as immigrants in America In Russia they lived in shtetls and were a close community of Jews It is easy to judge the values of this community through its actions Sara Smolinskys Mother tells her daughter stories of her life back in the Old Country She informs her daughter of the riches she once had and tells the story of how she was engaged to marry Reb Smolinsky A matchmaker in Russia arranged most marriages and Mother claims that she had suitors begging for her hand When I got fourteen years old the matchmakers from all the villages far and near began knocking on our doors telling my father the rich mens sons that were crazy to marry themselves to me Yezierska Bread Givers 31 Still Shenahs father did
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