October 14, 2002
"The Tormentors and Their Influences"
Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl and Bread Givers are novels which unfold the struggles that two young girls have to face under the strict laws of their tormenters. Reb Smolinsky and Doctor Flint are the burdens of the girls lives, and they know they must escape them. Reb Smolinsky is the father to Sara in Bread Givers and he plays the role of an unemployed and strictly religious man who collects his daughter's wages and commands her and the rest of the family about under the ruling of the Holy Torah. In Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Dr. Flint is a slaveholder and owns Linda who is a black slave on his plantation. Dr. Flint is the tormenter and burden in Linda's life for all of her early years. Linda and Sara live under the ruling of these men until neither can take it any longer.
Both girls eventually escape, through many struggles, to start their own life and leave their past behind.
Reb Smolinsky and Dr. Flint closely relate when it comes to the topic of work and attitude. Both put their underlings to work while they do what they want with their sufficient free time. Reb Smolinsky does not work but instead lives his life studying the Torah and memorizing every aspect of it while his daughters work full time and bring home all of their wages to him, keeping nothing for themselves. His wife waits on him hand and foot while he gets the first choice for every meal set on the table. At one point in the story when they came into some money, Sarah mentions, "Now all of us had meat for the Sabbath- not only father. And...