Conflicting Role Of Women In I Came A Stranger By Hilda Polacheck

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In her autobiography, I Came a Stranger Hilda Polacheck reveals the conflicting role of women in the late 19th / early 20th century as workers, caregivers, and social activists in a conflicting age of progress, hardship and missed expectations. Coming from a very traditional Jewish family in Poland it seems that Polacheck was destined to be a full time mother and wife never having immersed herself in the American society where women were becoming more and more relevant. The death of her father changes all of this forcing herself, her mother, and her siblings to fight for survival. This fight is not only what transformed Hilda Polacheck into the woman we remember her as today, but into an American . At age thirteen and even much later after her husband’s death forced Polacheck to go to work to keep her family fed and clothed. This is where she takes the reader through the first role of the 19th/20th century American Woman as a worker. Hilda’s life shows the reader through many avenues of the work women could take starting as a factory laborer in a knitting company all the way up to a teacher and writer. Along the journey through her working career Polachek displays the struggle women in the workforce faced in not only finding employment that could feed their family but jobs that provide fair and humane treatment. Polacheck 's life isn 't all working though after marrying her husband Bill she embodies the most common female role of the time; a mother. In raising her four
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