Explore the writings and social realism of Edith Wharton and Anzia Yezierska in this half-hour video from the American Passages series. In the decades between 1890 and 1920, America was transformed into an industrial, urban, consumer society. This transformation created unprecedented opportunities for the acquisition of wealth, but also enabled the exploitation of large classes of people. Immigrants arrived in waves from eastern and southern Europe and in many cases they found only poverty and inequity in America. Writers responded to the rapidly shifting class and social structure they saw around them by producing texts that realistically depicted both the problems and the promise of industrial, urban America.