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American Passages: A Literary SurveyUnit IndexAmerican Passages Home
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3. Utopian Promise   



9. Social
Realism


•  Unit Overview
•  Using the Video
•  Authors
•  Timeline
•  Activities
- Overview Questions
- Video
Activities
- Author
Activities
- Context
Activities
- Creative Response
- PBL Projects

Activities: Author Activities


Abraham Cahan - Author Questions

Back Back to Abraham Cahan Activities
  1. Comprehension: Why does Beile refuse to obey Zlate's command to run an errand for her? Do you think her reasons have more to do with her reluctance to waste time and thus lose money or with her anger at being treated like a servant? Comprehension: Lipman's factory is described as a "task shop." What is a task shop? How are the workers paid? What distinctions exist among the machine-operator, the baster, the finisher, and the presser?

  2. Comprehension: Lipman's factory is described as a "task shop." What is a task shop? How are the workers paid? What distinctions exist among the machine-operator, the baster, the finisher, and the presser?

  3. Context: In both Anzia Yezierska's "The Lost 'Beautifulness' " and Cahan's "A Sweat-Shop Romance," the main characters are treated unfairly by fellow Jewish immigrants (the greedy landlord Mr. Rosenblatt in Yezierska's story, and the overbearing Zlate in Cahan's). What social and economic differences divide the Lower East Side Jewish community in these stories? How does wealth-- and the adoption of American capitalist values--seem to affect the immigrants depicted in these stories?

  4. Exploration: Cahan later expressed doubt about the romantic, happy ending of the story--in his memoirs he wondered, "How on earth did it pop into my head?" Do you think the story's romantic resolution troubles its status as a piece of realist writing?




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