Reb Smolinsky Identity

1005 Words5 Pages
Identity in this novel comes in different ways and is an essential component that must be discussed to determine its impact to immigrants today. The first place where we encounter identity is when the main characters, Sara and her sisters, are subjected to what they perceive as harsh Jewish law. The family of Reb Smolinsky migrated from Poland to the United States of America, in which the family’s identity in the United States is shaped by Reb Smolinsky’s belief in their religion. His religion dictates that God has no time to listen to women and that women are not blessed with the capability to learn the word of God, yet the religion reduces them to be the servants of men “...women get into heaven …because they were the wives and daughters…show more content…
Sara also identifies herself by becoming more independent when she took up the mantle of becoming a business woman. According to her father and the entire Jewish paradigm, a woman can only become a man 's servant. This means that a woman is not supposed to work independently instead she is supposed to depend on a man. Sara defies this in her search for identity by plunging herself into business. By deciding to pursue business, she is challenging the standard role of the woman and takes a more independent one. She ventures into the business where she takes care of herself and the money she has made improves the family, unlike the Jewish tradition of merely tending to her husband and family without a job. She even admits that the she wanted to go and do business where she could earn twenty-five to thirty-five cents. Sara emphasizes how this independent mindset is dominating her life when she says, "…Nobody…is working by us. …Nobody! ... Nobody! …What should I buy to sell …quick to earn money...?"When Sara says this, she understands how much America has influenced her way of life, in which her work is substantial, yet unrecognized. Sara realizes that education is required for her to achieve a higher status and get better jobs. When Sara nearly marries Max, she realizes that pursuing education may hinder the well being of her family. Sara then understands that even though Max knows what is in the new world, he still believes in the Torah. This means that Max would inevitably make Sara uphold traditional Jewish woman behavior. Her religion has once again cast doubt on her
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