Arranged Marriage in Bread Givers, by Anzia Yezierska

767 Words4 Pages
Arranged Marriages have been around since time can remember. An arranged marriage is a marital union between a man and a woman who were selected to be wedded together by a third party. Historically, arrange marriages were the main way to marry. In certain parts of the world, it is still the primary approach. There are two types of arrange marriages. The first is a traditional marriage where the children can, with strong objections, refuse to marry their soon to be spouse. In a forced marriage, the children have no say in the matter. Bread Givers shows an excellent representation of the pressures on children from their parents to be married against their will.
The factors of arranged marriages are chiefly superficial. The most
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In North America, people will argue that love needs to happen before marriage but, historically, this is actually a very new notion. Mr. Smolinsky was in shock when his daughters wanted to marry for love. He asked his wife if they even looked at each other before the engagement and she replied, “’Maybe if I had the sense of my daughters in America, I would have given you a good look over before the wedding’” (76). This implies that if she had the choice, she would have married for love or perhaps a different man at least.
Dowries are extremely important to consider when it comes to arranged marriages. A dowry is a gift that could be goods, money, or land that a bride’s family will give to the groom to marry the bride. Dowries could be used to bring two powerful families together by having their children marry, for example, royal arranged marriages. In the Biblical sense, a girl who is still a virgin is more of prize than one who is not. In a way dowries make the daughter or son feel as property as told by Sara Smolinsky, “to [my father] I was nothing but his last unmarried daughter to be bought and sold” (205). Mr. Smolinsky stated, “It’s not enough to take my Bessie without a dowry. You must pay me yet” (47). Mr. Smolinsky, being the stubborn man he is, decided when Berel Bernstein asked for Bessie’s hand in marriage without the need of a dowry, that Mr. Smolinsky should get a bride price as well. A bride price

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