What are conflicts in the story "The Lost Beautifulness" by Anzia Jezierska?

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booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are a number of conflicts in the short story "The Lost Beautifulness" by Anzia Jezierska.

One of the conflicts in the story exists between Hanneh and her husband. While she has scrimped and saved her own money, pennies at a time, to paint the kitchen for her son's homecoming, and has been complimented on the wonderful results by neighbors and friends, her husband has nothing but complaints for her. Why did she waste the money that should have been set aside for a rainy day? Why did she spend time and money to improve the apartment which does not belong to them?

Another conflict, the major one in the story, is the landlord's demand that Hanneh must now pay more rent because the apartment looks so much better. He sees not beauty for beauty's sake, but realizes that he can now charge more money for the rooms, and expects that if Hanneh and her husband cannot pay it, they must leave. This conflict devastates Hanneh and robs her of all the joy she received from the work she did; and at the end, she and her belongings are thrown out into the street.

Another conflict exists between Hanneh and society. She believes that what the landlord is trying to do is ethically wrong. In this land of democracy, she believes the courts should be able to address and fix the problem, but they rule in favor of the landlord. Hanneh is disenchanted and distraught. Her vision of democracy has become nothing but an illusion, a dream. For in truth, democracy means nothing to her as she and her husband struggle to get by, and ultimately lose their home.