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Out of This Furnace - Refuting Capitalist Ideals

Uploaded by Gotskillz on Mar 06, 2005

Refuting Capitalist Ideals

Thomas Bell, author of Out of This Furnace, grew up in the steel mill town of Braddock, Pennsylvania. His novel reflects the hardships faced by his family during the time when the mills ruled the area. The book also focuses upon the life of immigrant workers struggling to survive in the "new country." All events in Bell's novel are fictional, however, they create a very realistic plot and are based somewhat upon a true story. In this novel, Bell refutes capitalistic ideals and the lack of a republican form of government by showing the struggles and success of immigrant steelworkers.

In the late nineteenth century, many European immigrants traveled to the United States in search of a better life and good fortune. The unskilled industries of the Eastern United States eagerly employed these men who were willing to work long hours for low wages just to earn their food and board. Among the most heavily recruiting industries were the railroads and the steel mills of Western Pennsylvania. Particularly in the steel mills, the working conditions for these immigrants were very dangerous. Many men lost their lives to these giant steel-making machines. The immigrants suffered the most and also worked the most hours for the least amount of money. Living conditions were also poor, and often these immigrants would barely have enough money and time to do anything but work, eat, and sleep. There was also a continuous struggle between the workers and the owners of the mills, the capitalists. The capitalists were a very small, elite group of rich men who held most of the wealth in their industries. Strikes broke out often, some ending in violence and death. Many workers had no political freedom or even a voice in the company that employed them. However, through all of these hardships, the immigrants continued their struggle for a better life.

This is the struggle represented in the book: Out of this Furnace, by Thomas Bell.

The viewpoints of Thomas Bell in his novel seem to sharply contradict the viewpoints depicted by Congressman Abram S. Hewitt and Reverend Richard Storrs (Krause). These men were the main speakers at a key historical event during the late nineteenth century: the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge. "The ceremonies were called 'The People's Day' (Krause). It was a day that "proclaimed victory over the dark forces of history", and a...

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Uploaded by:   Gotskillz

Date:   03/06/2005

Category:   Literature

Length:   8 pages (1,846 words)

Views:   22432

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