Allusions In Otherwise There's Nothing New

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Sholem Aleichem’s “Otherwise, There’s Nothing New” weaves the themes of Labor and Capitalism seamlessly into the story. The story engages the ideas of child labor and capitalism versus socialism all functioning to critique not just Jewish immigrant communities in a comedic wrapper. As one begins to unwrap the treat that is “Otherwise, There’s Nothing New”, similes and allusions are revealed to deliver the theme of unfair labor treatment, highlighting the harsh realities of not only America, but also the world for those underprivileged.
The tale begins with Yenkel, a Jewish man who recently emigrated from Russia to New York with his wife and children. The story is laid out by an exchange of letters between Yenkel and his friend Yisrulik, who still lives in the old country. Immediately in Yenkel’s letter there is mention of Socialism, “Sometimes we go to a Socialist meeting,
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At first glance this quote seems potentially miscellaneous, but when looking at the context, Yenkel would not mention being apart of a Socialist organization to his friend if it were not important or warranted. When analyzing Yisrulik’s response, a quote can shed some light on why it was mentioned, “The rich men are doing nicely, as usual, and the poor people are dying of hunger […] Workingmen like us are sitting around without a stitch of work” (Aleichem, 239). What Aleichem is alluding to is Captalism, an economic system where private owners control a country’s trade and industry for profit. Capitalism is hurting the Jewish community in Russia; so the reason Yenkel opens up the letter mentioning Socialism (the opposite of Capitalism) is a nod to Yisrulik that things are much better in America. Aleichem indirectly proposes the idea that Capitalism is easily abused and inherently bad for the Jewish
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