Family Duty In The Jazz Singer

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In “The Jazz Singer,” Cantor Rabinowitz wants his son to become a cantor because it has been the family’s generations-old family tradition. Jackie refuses to do so and is persistent in pursing what he likes and dreams of doing – singing Jazz. This is a typical story in the second generation immigrant families in the early 20th century America. Even though this kind of story happens in many different ways, to different ethnicities, genders, the central idea is that the children of the immigrants who were born and raised here are heavily influenced by American culture and less willingly to observe to many of the old traditions their parents brought to this country. When Rabinowitz is told that his thirteen-year-old son is performing jazz tunes, …show more content…

However, in “The Jazz Singer,” the 13-year-old Jackie Robbin has not been stopped by his family duty in getting what he wants – singing Jazz. Family duty is present in the movie when Jackie struggles to decide to sing at his Broadway show or to sing at the Yom Kippur service as his father is in deathbed. On the one hand, Jackie seems totally Americanized: when he runs away from home, changes his name, confronts his father after seeing him again, and asserts that his career comes before everything. All these make him seem strong-willed in pursuing his American dream. On the other, Jackie has moments of compromise: towards the end of the movie Jackie chooses family duty over his career, singing the religious song in his father’s place. In “Bread givers,” the Smolinsky sisters are not as fortunate. Despite the father’s mistreatment for years, Bessie’s strong sense of duty almost always holds her back from breaking away from the unpleasant family that she misses the chance to run away with the man she loves. Sara, on the other hand, seems to be able to escape her father forever when she goes to college and refuses to see her family for years. Nevertheless, she is caught by family duty when she revisits the family only to see her mother dying, and this makes Sara …show more content…

Both are eager to be independent and are not afraid to break away from the family if they have to, and both are ultimately caught in family duty. The desire of being independent and being able to do what they want to do is a theme that prevails in both stories, and it is classic theme in second generation immigrants. Both characters are Americanized and have abandoned many traditional values, but are ultimately tied to the families they come from, because family, to some extent, is what defines a

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