This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

A Patriarchal World Essay

1650 words - 7 pages

A Patriarchal World

John Bodnar says it well when he suggests that "the center of everyday life was to be found in the family-household. It was here that past values and present realities were reconciled, examined on an intelligible scale, evaluated and mediated." This assertion implies that the immigrant family-household is the vehicle of assimilation. I will take this assertion a step further and examine more specifically the powerful role of the patriarchal father within Anzia Yezierska's book Bread Givers and Barry Levinson's film Avalon. Yezierska's theme vividly depicts the constraint of a patriarchal world, while Levinson illustrates the process of assimilation and the immigrant, now American, family and its decline. In this paper, I will exemplify how the patriarchal father, Sam Kochinsky (Armin Mueller-Stahl) and Reb Smolinsky are the key determinant of the dynamics by which the family assimilates.

In assimilation, you are said to conform to your surroundings. Assimilation is a process by which you reconcile the ideal with reality. Dealing with virtually three generations of an entire Jewish American immigrant experience, Levinson illustrates not necessarily the merging of two cultures, but possibly the tainting of authenticity, clouding (memories of) the familiar-the villain being the television. The happy community of extended family is, in the end, supplanted by the glowing idiot box that kills conversation and turns its suburban audience into zombies.

In Yezierska's work, she epitomizes the struggle between the Old World and the New World. The patriarchal father, representing traditional Jewish ways, and Sara Smolinsky, the heroine, struggling against her father with the desire to reconcile with reality. In Bread Givers, Yezierska symbolically depicts Sara as the immigrant parting her ways as she embarks anew on the journey that was given to her when she arrived by which to transform her life-dealing with the daily transformation as she struggles to hold together the wants of society and her (families) authenticity in these days of deep troubles. The head of the family, Reb Smolinsky is an immovably Orthodox Jewish rabbi, who lives by the Holy Torah, and expects his family to do the same. His reign over the family reinforces Old World, traditional values and beliefs. Reb holds to the Torah belief that "if they [women] let the man study the Torah in peace, the, maybe, they could push themselves in to heaven with the men, to wait on them there" (Yezierska, 10). Women were to bear the burden of the household as "servants of men" (Yezierska, 9) and let the rabbi to his studies and prayers. He makes it a disgrace and is outraged at times when his daughters try to assimilate into the American culture. He will not allow any part of this New World to invade into his territory.

In the case of the Kochinsky family, assimilation is viewed in a much different light. As patriarchal Sam encourages the American...

Find Another Essay On A Patriarchal World

Women's Position in the Patriarchal Society

1957 words - 8 pages There are only two genders in the whole world, one is male and the other is female. There are lots of advocates and sociologist who has spoken for the equality between men and women but till now the goal of equality has not been achieved yet. Women have always been dominated by the men in the Patriarchal society where men are the head of the household and the rule makers. Men are the supreme authority and women are the followers. When we hear

Women and the Patriarchal Society in Michael Cunningham's The Hours

1057 words - 4 pages Women Pressured by the Demands of a Patriarchal Society in Michael Cunningham's The Hours In Michael Cunningham's The Hours, Laura Brown, one of the novel's protagonists, is trapped by the responsibility of being a housewife and mother. Cunningham's story uses one of Virginia Woolf's works, Mrs. Dalloway, as a template to weave the lives of three women together in a narrative delicately split into three branching tales that echo each other

Patriarchal Pursuit

1545 words - 7 pages There are a number of elements to my board game, which were designed to reflect both the Restoration time period, and the play The Rover by Aphra Behn. The game is called “Patriarchal Pursuit” and it was created as a fun and interactive way to understand societal and theatrical changes of the period, as well as the role of female characters in the play. Significant aspects of the board game include the purpose, question mark cards, the

Texts often represent women as victims in a patriarchal society. Discuss

1820 words - 7 pages group. But, in their portrayal, are they truly victims of a patriarchal society? Certainly Sylvia Plath's Daddy (1962) paints a despairing picture of suppression and inner anguish, a woman driven mad by the men in her life - though is this really the case? For Ania Walwicz challenges this concept of a helpless damsel in distress by subverting the traditional fairytale in Little Red Riding Hood (1982), thus undermining masculine values about women

A View of Systematic Gendered Repression in the Patriarchal Social Construct

2405 words - 10 pages The Water and Diamonds Paradox: A View of Systematic Gendered Repression in the Patriarchal Social Construct In economics there exists what is known as the diamond and water paradox, proposed by the great, capitalist economist Adam Smith. It is based on the idea that the total utility, or the total benefit that a person gets from the consumption of goods and services, is low for diamonds, while the marginal utility or the level of

How is Patriarchal and Gender Power shown in Shakespeare's 'The Tempest'?

906 words - 4 pages The ideas of patriarchal and gender power are illustrated extensively in Shakespeare's 'The Tempest' through the relationships portrayed in the play, and the play's symbolic depiction of colonialism.First and foremost, 'The Tempest' was written in the Jacobean period - a period where society was still most strongly patriarchal. This can be seen as 'the Tempest' is set in a completely patriarchal society; where all positions of power are held by

Conflicts of Race, Class and Gender Under the Hidden Patriarchal System on Dance Moms

4301 words - 17 pages patriarchal society which in turn reveals the nature of hurt different women sustain as a group in a male-dominated world. The popularity of the program can be attributed to various socio economic factors. Mainly the economy plays a vital part in the popularity of reality television and Dance Moms. New technology has made cameras more mobile and allows viewers real-time glimpses of never before seen lives. Due to Dance Moms using “ordinary

Treading Patriarchal Waters

1602 words - 7 pages Story of Lois Jensen and the Landmark Case that Changed Sexual Harassment Law that illitrates the first sexual harassment class action lawsuit in the United Statesand and mirrors the patriachal social system of female suppression in a male-dominant workplace. This essay presents a socio-political feminist approach of the implication of domination to a marginalized workforce and the societal roles within it. Although the glass ceiling of gender

To what extent does 'Frankenstein' constitute a critique of patriarchal culture? (Including science as part of that culture)

1369 words - 5 pages of vengeance resulting from Victor's actions. So although we acknowledge Victor as a creator, he is, certainly from the monsters perspective, the destroyer. It is Frankenstein's arrogant, patriarchal ego that destroys everyone associated with him. In addition to this his divergence from all that is feminine and human lead to chaos for all.Furthermore some critics have suggested that Shelley's monster may be read as an emblem of the French

The Affects of the Ancient Patriarchal Societies and its Influences on the Bible and the Creation of Feminist Theology

2104 words - 8 pages scholars study eschatology. They connect the unjust and sometimes oppressive role of the church to be the cause to the imbalance in nature that will ultimately end in the destruction of our world. They believe that unless we find balance within the church, and create a less patriarchal hierarchy of a church leadership we will be responsible for the end of mankind. [8] Human well being is dependant on the ability to raise above the animal instincts and

Effects of Patriarchal Family Structure

811 words - 4 pages Mill is concerned with the political repercussions of the unequal status of women within families. In a patriarchal family structure, wives are kept ignorant about politics and issues that occur outside of their homes and do not directly involve their families. Mill laments that a wife “neither knows nor cares which is the right side in politics, but she knows what will being in money or invitations, give her husband a title, her son a place, or

Similar Essays

Ridiculous Patriarchal Views And Ideals From To Kill A Mockingbird And The Present World

1055 words - 5 pages “It’s time you started bein’ a girl and acting right!” Women are always expected to “act right.” As we grow up, we, as women, are told to act and look like a lady. We are expected to keep our legs closed and crossed, be clean, and be presentable. We should not cuss or be too loud. We are raised to be accessories. Today, females are seen more as equals to men, but there is still a fair amount of judgement against our gender. Little girls are

Women In The Patriarchal Society Essay

1046 words - 4 pages ENG 437 Essay 1October 9, 2014Women in the Patriarchal SocietyLiving in a male-dominated society considered as a difficult issue for women. Women, in these kinds of societies, have to choose between either to adapt with the current situation or to stand up with their own believes. Men like to control women in everything, some women do not show any objection toward that like the women in Yussef Idriss's story "A House of Flesh", but others do not

Patriarchal Society Of Sherlock Holmes Essay

1465 words - 6 pages During the Victorian era as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle created various adventures of Sherlock Holmes, he was surrounded by a patriarchal society. The assumption that women were inferior to men was true of that period. Women were expected to stay inside, raise the children, and perform "social" tasks. Men ate meat while women ate cake, strawberries, and custard (Bird 1). In various Sherlock Holmes stories featuring females, Doyle devises plots that

A Woman’s Role In A Patriarchal Society

1322 words - 5 pages forms of self-expression the many perspectives that fall under the heading ‘feminism’ vary wildly”(Hall 199). Since women were denied social power and self-expression, they went against what society saw as acceptable, a patriarchal world. In the stories The Awakening, by Kate Chopin, “Story of an Hour” also by Chopin, and “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman we see just how woman’s expected gender roles affect these woman. In The