What Is the Summary of “Son From America” by Isaac Bashevis Singer?

In Isaac Bashevis Singer’s “Son from America,” Samuel, the titular son, returns to Lentshin, Poland, the village where his parents live, from America. While there, he learns that not everyone needs money to be happy.

Berl, a Jewish farmer, and his wife, Berlcha, haven’t seen their son, Samuel, in 40 years. A then 15-year-old Samuel moved to America to make something of his life. Every month he sends them money, but they don’t spend it. Instead, they save it in a boot under their bed. Samuel decides to visit his parents, which surprises and pleases them, but he is surprised to find that they haven’t spent the money. They tell him that they don’t need money in Lentshin.

He suggests the town use the money to build a bigger synagogue, but his parents say the synagogue is big enough. He suggests they travel, but his parents don’t want to leave home. He suggests the town build a home for old people, but his father reasons that the town doesn’t need such a home since no one sleeps on the street. Samuel visits a shul and finds a man praying. Samuel asks if the man makes a living, and the man, misunderstanding Samuel, says that he lives as long as he remains healthy.

Samuel returns home, where his mother prays for health, good deeds and wealth. Samuel, finally understanding why his parents didn’t spend the money, tells his mother that she doesn’t need to pray for wealth because she has everything she needs.