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Anzia Yezierska

  • Was she so loved because her eyes were so beautiful or were her eyes so beautiful because she was so loved?

  • Jean turned the piano into a human voice, waking them out of sodden sleep. Just listening was living. Life filtered through tired bodies, bent backs. Heads lifted. Fear and worry fled from their eyes. For an instant, they breathed in a fullness of life denied them in life.

  • This fire in me, it's not just the hunger of a woman for a man — it's the hunger of all my people back of me, from all ages, for light, for the life higher!

    • Anzia Yezierska,
    • "Hunger," Hungry Hearts ()
  • When I only begin to read, I forget I'm on this world. It lifts me on wings with high thoughts.

    • Anzia Yezierska,
    • "Wings," Hungry Hearts ()
  • The world is a wheel always turning.

    • Anzia Yezierska,
    • "The Fat of the Land," Hungry Hearts ()
  • The cold indifference, the each-for-himself look in the eyes of the people about her were like stinging slaps in the face.

    • Anzia Yezierska,
    • "The Fat of the Land," Hungry Hearts ()
  • Ain't I hurt enough without you having to hurt me yet with charity? You want to give me hush money to swallow down unrightness that burns my flesh? I want justice.

    • Anzia Yezierska,
    • "The Lost Beautifulness," Hungry Hearts ()
  • Like all people who have nothing, I lived on dreams.

    • Anzia Yezierska,
    • "The Miracle," Hungry Hearts ()
  • For the little while when we was lovers I breathed the air from the high places where love comes from, and I can't no more come down.

    • Anzia Yezierska,
    • "Where Lovers Dream," Hungry Hearts ()
  • I'm one of the millions of immigrant children, children of loneliness, wandering between worlds that are at once too old and too new to live in.

    • Anzia Yezierska,
    • title story, Children of Loneliness ()
  • As one of the dumb, voiceless ones I speak. One of the millions of immigrants beating, beating out their hearts at your gates for a breath of understanding.

    • Anzia Yezierska,
    • "America and I," Children of Loneliness ()
  • It takes six simpletons and one zealot to start a movement.

    • Anzia Yezierska,
    • "One Thousand Pages of Research," Commentary ()
  • Science has salvaged scrap metal and even found vitamins and valuable oils in refuse, but old people are extravagantly wasted.

    • Anzia Yezierska,
    • "One Thousand Pages of Research," Commentary ()
  • At last I came to college. I rushed for it with the outstretched arms of youth's aching hunger to give and take of life's deepest, and highest, and I came against the solid wall of the well-fed, well-dressed world — the frigid whitewashed wall of cleanliness. ... How I pinched, and scraped, and starved myself, to save enough to come to college! Every cent of the tuition fee I paid was drops of sweat and blood from underpaid laundry work. And what did I get for it? A crushed spirit, a broken heart, a stinging sense of poverty that I never felt before.

    • Anzia Yezierska,
    • "Soap and Water," Hungry Hearts ()
  • I was so obsessed and consumed with my grievances that I could not get away from myself and think things out in the light. I was in the grip of that blinding, destructive, terrible thing — righteous indignation.

    • Anzia Yezierska,
    • "Soap and Water," Hungry Hearts ()
  • Woe is me! Bitter is me! For what is my life? Why didn't the ship go under and drown me before I came to America?

    • Anzia Yezierska,
    • "Hunger," Hungry Heart ()
  • Without comprehension, the immigrant would forever remain shut out — a stranger in America. Until America can release the hearts as well as train the hand of the immigrant, he would forever remain driven back upon himself, corroded by the very richness of the unused gifts within his soul.

    • Anzia Yezierska,
    • "How I Found America," Hungry Hearts ()
  • Though my father was poor and had nothing, the Torah, the poetry of prophets, was his daily bread.

  • In America, money takes the place of God.

  • The real thing creates its own poetry.

  • Poor people who had escaped from poverty as I had, feared it, hated it and fled from it all their lives. Those born rich could afford to be touched by it.

  • The power that makes grass grow, fruit ripen, and guides the bird in flight is in us all.

  • I tasted the bread and wine of equality.

  • If I had never met him I would have dreamed him into being.

  • Poverty becomes a Jew like a red ribbon on a white horse.

  • The only compensation for the artist is the chance to feed hungry hearts.

Anzia Yezierska, Russian-born U.S. novelist

(1885 - 1970)