Steel Mill Cycles Essay

1432 words - 6 pages

Steel-Mill Cycles During the mid-1880's, large groups of immigrants poured into the United States.Some came in search of a new life, and some merely wanted to make enough money to go back to their home country. However, there's no doubt that these individuals all had hopes and dreams of what the "New World" would bring. Their hopes and dreams laid in the idea of unlimited employment opportunities. Leaving behind endless poverty and oppression, these immigrants came to America to find a better life. Yet, a better life was far from reality; Hardships of life and work would await these hopeful souls. The adversities and afflictions of these immigrants are clearly reflected through the book titled Out of This Furnace, written by Thomas Bell.In the novel by Bell, the reader is given a climps of what life was like for steel-mill workers and the effects of it.Out of This Furnace begins with the first generation of a Slovak immigrant named Kracha, who would lay the foundation for future generations in his family. In search of better opportunities, Kracha left his home country and headed for a world that would complicate his life more than he had planned.Upon his arrival in America and the situations that are thrusts at him, the character of Kracha is seen as a man who has little control over his fate. The whole idea of not being able to control what happens to Kracha starts with his temptation with adultery, then leads to his failed butcher shop. But overall, one thing that was inevitible was his work condions in the mill.Like most immigrants, shortly after settlling in America, Kracha was thrown into the mill.With no experience and no knowledge of this New World, men like Kracha had no choice but to except jobs in the steel-mills. The pay was little, and the work dangerous. And the men who worked in the mill were, at times, not even seen as human beings, but as objects with the same schedule day in day out.Kracha's work schedule was typical of a mill worker. He "...worked from six to six, seven days a week, one week on day turn, one week on night." (47). With a schedule like this, it was hard for these men to keep up with their sleep and their daily routine. And there were times when Kracha would have to go to the mill "...Sunday morning at six and worked continusly until Monday morning." (47).Kracha endured this hardship for years, until after the death of his best friend, Dubik. Dubik painfully died a few weeks after he burned in the mill. And the effect of this caused Kracha to re-think the direction in his life. Kracha now wanted to open up a butcher shop where he would be his own boss, and be in control of his work for once.Sure enough, he did open a shop, and was more successful than he had ever been.But even during Kracha's prosperous years, he never knew when his luck would run out. Kracha was now extremely preoccupied with his "businessman lifestyle," where he had "...rent to pay, wages to pay, bills to pay. Feed, shoes, and harness the horse....

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