Analysis of Anzia Yezierska's 'The Lost Beautifulness'

825 Words Jan 9th, 2018 3 Pages
"The lost beautifulness" by Anzia Yezierska
In Anzia Yezierska's short story "The lost beautifulness," the protagonist Hanneh Hayyeh scrimps and saves to be able to paint her apartment white to make it look respectable for her son Ady when he comes home from fighting World War I. Hayyeh wants some kind of hope to cling to in her desperate immigrant's life. Although the dialect of the characters is Russian-Jewish and the setting is in an early 20th century urban environment, the idea of immigrant aspirations and the conflict between rich and poor is a common theme in American literature.
Initially, people make fun of Hanneh because they think she is overly enamored with her 'wonderful' son and even her husband dislikes how much money she foolishly sinks into a property that is not her own. But they are eventually touched by the care and concern she puts into her apartment to make it look better. However, her cruel landlord, the only truly unlikeable character in the story, exploits Hanneh's hard work and raises her rent, saying that in America that is how capitalism works ruthlessly.
When he raises the rent, Hanneh tries to give her landlord his comeuppance by destroying her handiwork, but in the process she destroys her soul, effectively extinguishing her belief that everyone can make it in America. The story is not judgmental of the wealthy Hanneh's employer Mrs. Preston is well aware of the injustice of a world in which she eats strawberries and cream and Hanneh…
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