The Industrialization Period in Out of This Furnace by Thomas Bell


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“Out of This Furnace” by Thomas Bell first started off in the late 1800s when the industrialization period was first starting. In the industrialization period people were working in difficult positions and under awful circumstances. In “Out of This Furnace” Bell divides the book into four different narrators, Djuro Kracha, Mary Kracha Dobrejcaks, Mike Dobrejcaks and Dobie Dobrejcaks, each part showing what challenges they faced trying to provide for their families and achieve the American Dream and really expressed what people actually had to go through every day in that time period.

In the first part of “Out of This Furnace” the narrator is Djuro Kracha, Kracha is moving from Hungary to America, when getting to America and noticing that he has little money he walks to Pennsylvania where his few family members live. Coming to America to have a better life as soon as Kracha got to Pennsylvania he immediately started working for the railroad and eventually getting a secure job. Kracha then got a job at the steel mill, Kracha described working in the mill as, “At the end of each day-turn week came a long turn of twenty-four hours, when we went into the mill Sunday morning at six and worked continuously until Monday morning. Then home to wash, eat and sleep until five that afternoon, when he got up and returned to the mill to begin his night work week.” (Bell 47) The conditions at the steel mill were described as exhausting with poor pay but Kracha still continued to work for the poor pay to continue to support his family. After time Kracha and his wife had enough money to open a meat market owned and operated by him, but since Kracha had no business experience his business fell through and left him with losing everything.

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Djuro’s daughter and husband, Mary and Mike Dobrejcaks make up the second and third part of the book. Mike is the complete opposite of Djuro, he wants nothing more than to provide for his family no matter the work. Mike grew up working most of his life so he knew how hard to get through in life really is. Mike was somewhat educated, knowing how to read and write, and he was considered good looking, so he had a lot going for him in his life. In this part if the book Bell really shows how long and hard the steel mill was to work at saying, “…; men might tire but they didn’t, no matter how much work was done it was never enough.” (Bell 166) After Mike is killed in a steel mill accident Mary is forced to continue on alone. Mary was heartbroken and packed up and left the house that her and Mike lived in. Mary had to deal with the children, getting them to school and feeding them, and she had to do all of her daily chores too she never had the chance of having a day off and she was exhausted. In the end Mary raised all of the children on her own and continued on.

The last part of the “Out of This Furnace” was Dobie Dobrejcaks, Mary and Mike’s son, in the end of the book he was clearly the protagonist of the story. Knowing what his father and grandfather went through working in the mills, he leaves the mills and look for opportunities to help labor issues that have been a major concern. As said in Djuro’s part of the book, “In Braddock it was an exceptional month which we didn’t see a man crippled or killed outright.” (Bell 47) What Dobie wanted to achieve is being able to help immigrants we need the work stay safe but still be able to provide for themselves and in the end he was able to achieve his goal and also his family’s goal of having the American Dream.

Overall, in Bells book it shows what people had to go through during that time, the struggles they had to face and relating the book to a story really helped understand what the conditions were back then.

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