Blood And Iron: Negotiating A Hybrid Identity In Anzia Yezierska’s Bread Givers

Author : Diane Todd Bucci

The first waves of European immigrants, especially those from eastern Europe, encountered many obstacles in merica, but especially challenging was the identity crisis that they experienced when they were confronted with an unwelcoming host society. While theorist Judith Butler does not explicitly address race in Gender Trouble, in her
discussion of identity formation, she explains that ‗the anticipation of a gendered essence produces that which it posits as outside itself‘ (xv). In fact, the same can be said of immigrants and the formation of their American identities, and while they may have a difficult time defining the variable notion of ‗American‘, they know what it is not: the unassimilated immigrant that they see in themselves. Thus, because they were eager to overcome their minority status and wanted to be recognised as Americans, being ‗un–American‘ was undesirable, so European immigrants willingly assimilated by shedding traits that identified them as outsiders. Sometimes the transformation was superficial; for example, greenhorns were quick to dress in American styles. At other times, though, the change was far more momentous in that it might lead to a complete rejection of the immigrant‘s cultural ties. Ultimately, an often unacknowledged aspect of ‗American success‘ is overcoming the fractured self that many members of ethnic minorities experience because of their developing, and often conflicting, bicultural.identities.

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