In Unterzakhn, the two main characters are twin immigrants Fanya and Esther. The two are brought up in the Lower East Side of Manhattan in the early 1900s and their story is told in a back and forth fashion between the different lifestyles that they are each living and headed towards. Their choices mirror that of many young immigrant girls growing up in tenements and the same part of town by the lack of education they have and all that is kept from them.
What truly started each of the girls off in the paths that they ended up in was their mother. Since most immigrants are traditional, the twins’ mother oc culted a lot from them and in turn they never learned a lot about being a woman so they were left to try to figure that out on their own. Fanya was left to figure out the mysteries of sex and babies through her job with an abortion doctor while Esther was left to figure out sex as a job through her job at a brothel. Their mother didn’t want them to be educated and I could only imagine that that was the case for most immigrant’s growing up in the Lower East Side, so they were left to fend for themselves and discover things in not so good places. Most girls probably took the paths that these twins did just out of lack of knowledge or money and the graphic novel portrays the two lifestyles perfectly when juxtaposing them.