Betty Smith: The Struggle Of Life In America

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“I came to a clear conclusion, and it is a universal one: To live, to struggle, to be in love with life--in love with all life holds, joyful or sorrowful--is fulfillment. The fullness of life is open to all of us” (Betty Smith). Betty Smith, born as Elizabeth Lillian Wehner, grew up in Brooklyn, New York as the daughter of poor German immigrants. At the time, child labor was legal and Smith began work at the young age of fourteen to help support her family. Smith’s life in the slums and her experiences during the Great Depression greatly influenced her writing. Most of her novels depict families struggling to survive on a low income. Another idea Smith explores in her novels is what part women should take in the world. In Smith’s lifetime, women were granted the right to vote and other significant rights that many did not agree on. In her books she created strong female leads that defy the bubble women were placed in at the time. Smith’s novels became highly popular with many Americans because she depicted the struggles of life in poverty that many people could relate to. Betty Smith was one of the most influential writers of her time, and her works impacted American culture in several ways.
Betty Smith was born on December 15, 1896 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. In Jones’s article (1994), Jones describes Smith’s childhood as “a childhood and youth at once poor in material terms, but rich in experience.” Smith’s father was an actor, but died when she was young, leaving the

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