The Lost Beautifulness
The Lost Beautifulness was written by Anzia Yezierska in 1923. The short story starts off by introducing the main character, Hannah Hayyeh. She starts off by explaining her love for her son. She stands looking at a picture of him, missing his loving personality and beauty. Hannah explains the beauty she finds within her son and doesn’t seem to have enough words to express this feeling. These are characteristics of Modernism by showing the traditional values and assumptions that Hannah has. During the modernism period, people emphasized the individuality.

Hannah decides to paint a picture in remembrance of her son. The thrill and excitement she gets after painting the picture showed her love and respect she had for her son. This beauty allowed the reader to take in the details and feel the love being shared from mother to son. Anzia Yezierska shows irony throughout this short story to emphasize the literary devices that were used towards her writing. As the story went along, the irony kept growing, more and more intensely. It was easy as a reader picturing the scenes and situations that took place in the setting. The line, “Every penny I earned myself from the extra washing. But you ought to save it up for the bad times. What’ll you do when the cold weather starts in and the pushcart will not wheel itself out?” (Yezierska). This line had many meanings and feelings within it. The part that stood out the most was “every penny I earned.” This had such tremendous meaning because it was a deep expression Hannah had made about her son (Cane). She had been willing to give up everything she had for her son’s life. This would be an example of Modernism in the face of Women’s Rights. It was during the time when women didn’t have much say in things and couldn’t stick up for what they believe in (such as risking everything she had for her son).

The modernism period had times when women were just getting starting to earn rights. Anzia Yezierska made sure to discuss the rights women had struggled so hard for to receive. This is where Hannah, as a mother, takes so much pride in the painting that she had accomplished because it was rare for a woman to do such thing. She had a different type of love for her husband than she did for her son. “
The theme of the passionate immigrant woman and the repressed Protestant man recurs frequently in her fiction” (Werlock). This line meant no matter how hard Hannah tried forgetting, love never failed and somehow seemed to always come back around. Yezierska talks about the Protestant man and how she feels against him. She reveals her true feelings about immigrants, which turns out to be discrimination. There was a lot of discrimination against immigrants in American during the Modernism time period.

In conclusion, The Lost Beautifulness showed examples of modernism by women’s rights and love. With the love came compassion and companionship. The relationship between Hannah and her son was full of emotions. “She’s always on fire with the wonder of her son,” was a quote out of the book from Anzia Yezierska (Yezierska). That line made the relationship between Hannah and her son more clear for the reader to understand. This short story was written in the way for the audience to have a clear and comprehendible meaning.


Cane, Aleta. "Anzia Yezierska." In American Women Writers, 1900–1945: A Bio-Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook, edited by Laurie Champion, 378–382. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2000.

Werlock, Abby H. P., ed. "Yezierska, Anzia." Facts On File Companion to the American Novel. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2006. Bloom's Literary Reference Online. Facts On File, Inc. CANov0974&SingleRecord=True (accessed May 3, 2010).