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Bread Givers Excerpt: "I am an American!"

I wanted back the mornings going to work. And the evenings from work. The crowds sweeping you on, like waves of a beating sea. The shop. The roar of the rushing machines. The drive and the thrill of doing things faster and faster. The pay envelope. The joyous feel of money where every little penny was earned with your own hands. …

“A young girl, alone, among strangers? Do you know what’s going on in the world? No girl can live without a father or a husband to look out for her. It says in the Torah. Only through a man has a woman an existence. Only through a man can a woman enter Heaven.”

“I’m smart enough to look out for myself. It’s a new life now. In America, women don’t need men to boss them…Thank God, I’m living in America!...I’m going to make my own life… I’m going to live my own life. Nobody can stop me. I’m not from the old country. I’m an American!”

“You blasphemer!” His [the heroine’s father] hand flung out and struck my cheek. “Denier of God! I’ll teach you respect for the law!” I leaped back and dashed for the door. The Old World had struck its last on me.

Anzia Yezierska, Bread Givers (New York: Persea Books, 1925) pp. 129, 137.
JWA use only on
Date / time
Yezierska, Anzia
Persea Books
129, 137
Bread Givers
Date published
April 8, 1905

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Bread Givers Excerpt: "I am an American!"." (Viewed on January 18, 2018) <>.


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