America has different promises and potentials for Flora, Asriel and Shaya in Abraham Cahan’s The Imported Bridegroom. How do their expectations of America clash in the story?
The expectations at first seem to connect, but then clash as each character realizes that they do not actually want what they thought they did.
Flora wanted to marry a doctor, but when Shaya studied to become a doctor, he no longer had time for her.
Asriel wanted a studious, impressive, and pious son. However, by the time Flora agreed to marry Shaya, it is only because she has changed his objectives.
To answer this question, I think it's best to look at each character individually.
Asriel is Flora's father, and has been living in America for thirty-five years at the time of the story. Though there isn't a lot of mention about his arrival, it's understood that in coming to America he was able to find new opportunities. He became a businessman, first with a bakery and then in real estate. America is a land of riches to him—it presents more freedom than his hometown of Pravly.
He hopes for his daughter to benefit from both worlds. He wants her to enjoy much of the wealth of America, while still marrying a Jewish man who will bring the family spiritual richness.
Flora was born in America, but we can see that much of her father's ideals have rubbed off on her. She does not have the same...
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