Sara has to overcome many obstacles in this story as she struggles to find her independence and uniqueness among her family, but will be primarily talking about her father s a cruel and ever present obstacle that she must overcome to make her dreams a reality, and also how her sex as a female prevents her from being treated equally as a human being. Sara’s father is a holy man who studies the Torah, when he is studying nothing else matters to him, he insist that the women must stay in one of the other rooms in the house which is cramped and stuffy.
Of course they are not happy with living in poverty but their father spends the little money they earn frivolously or he allows himself to be scammed. I find this to be the worst kind f obstacle because as her father she must depend on him and his wisdom no matter how skewed it is, he seems to always be breathing down his daughters necks disapproving of this and not agreeing to that; It seems sad to me that their own father won’t support his daughters in making the decisions that make them happy and instead worrying about himself.
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As a woman, and even more important, his daughters, they are expected to marry a man because the Torah states that a woman can only get into heaven through men, and also bring money into the family, however Sara does not want that or her future, instead she wishes to become a teacher so that she too can have people looking towards her like they do for her father. Sara’s father stands in the way of this dream of hers in such a way that isn’t physical but more or less mental.
She feels obligated to help her family when and her father loses all their money to a scam and later when their mother gets very sick, however she wants her independence and ability to make her decisions for herself but when she is restricted in that small home and small town she simply cannot. Once Sara reaches her breaking point believe that is when she creates a solution for herself and take the first step towards her identity.
She runs away to New York to try and make her dreams come true without the oppressing image of her father in her head, she needs to be able to pursue her desire of identity and belonging without this looming character breaking her down. When Sara reaches New York she manages to rent a small room to herself and pays for it by working a day job in laundry and then she uses her nights to study and take classes so that she can achieve her dream of becoming a cheer.
The whole world seems to be against Sara though as she realizes that living on your own is hard and that discrimination against women in still ever present in her new life, such as when she is in the restaurant and is given less meat because she is a woman, though she has no claims to back her argument, she still stands up with courage in her heart to defend what she believes is right. I feel like she takes this opportunity to create a sense of independence and also to be able to voice her opinion, something which she had no ability to do back at home. At one point in the story a new character emerges in Sara’s life named Max Goldstein.
Him and Sara started going out and he made her feel special and “full of life,” he even wanted to marry her; however he oppressed Sara by not allowing her to have a voice, opinions and even tried obstructing her from an education; he also tried to make her into his “perfect possession,” not the teacher she so dreamed of becoming. Sara refused the marriage proposal and in such turn her father disowned his own daughter. Sara had to learn to cope with this discriminating world which incises with her Constant struggle to feel accepted with her new identity.
Later in the story Sara’s father remarries the widow upstairs; this witch of a woman would try and leech money from his daughters and I believe Sara feels obligated to help her father in which case Hugo, her new significant other, insist that he moves in with them but this would mean having to live under her father’s rule once more. I can understand why she would feel worried about being oppressed by her father again; she is already so discriminated against everywhere she turns and she has finally been able to rate an identity for herself, she doesn’t want to have to go through the same ordeal again.
In the end however, Sara kindles a relationship with Hugo and is happy enough to reach out to her father and ask him to come live with them. I think this is a very strong thing for her to do, it also shows that she understands her identity and her father can never take that away from her, however, Sara and her father are not so different, because she saw in him the light that she had in herself, and did not want to see it die out like hers was Oh so close to doing.
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