Strangers embraced and kissed like old friends. Old men and women had in their eyes a look of young people in love. Age-old visions sang themselves in me songs of freedom of an oppressed people.
These powerful were words not written by a college student, a historian, or a best-selling author. No, this beautiful paragraph was once stated by an unlearned immigrant just stepping onto American soil for the first time. This poor immigrant was a young Anzia Yezierska, beloved author of the book Hungry Hearts. .
The question I am asked to answer within this essay is why I liked this book, Hungry Hearts by Anzia Yezierska. My question is, though, how could I not? Ms. Yezierska entwines colorful language with beautiful story lines to form one strikingly influential novel of dreams, irony, and strife. .
Hungry Hearts is divided into ten short stories, which are all connected to one another. The way the story's narrator changes helps to give the book more depth and perspective. Yezierska's transition from one character to another is swift and easy to follow, unlike some novels I have read in previous years. I believe if this book was written in any other style, it would not have had such an impact on me as it has.
To me, I feel Hungry Hearts gives voice to the millions of people who immigrated to America looking for a new and better life. It is not sugar-coated, nor does it leave out all of the gruesome details of early American life. Many of the main characters such as Shenah Pessah, a poor Russian immigrant looking only for a good education, go to America full of dreams. The character's dreams are soon crushed as they reach America, only to find it is just as downtrodden and oppressed as their native land. This book also destroyed most of the stereotypes I had about immigrants. Yezierska explains clearly, through dialogue, that immigrants went to America looking for a better life not to simply toil in sweatshops.