Out Of This Furnace Essay

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The novel Out of This Furnace was written by Thomas Bell that told the story of three generations of a Slovak family who migrated to America in search of a better life. The book provided insight into the challenges faced by immigrants in America and the struggles of the working class during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Bell's novel portrayed the impact of immigration on families and the importance of maintaining cultural identity. It also highlighted the harsh working conditions and low wages faced by the workers in the steel mills of Braddock, Pennsylvania, and the workers' efforts to organize themselves and fight for better working conditions and wages. This book is relevant to our field of study as it provides a rich …show more content…

Kracha was not interested in assimilating into American culture but only interested in working to achieve his American dream. Kracha’s refusal to get involved in American politics illustrated the extent to which he clung to his identity as a Slovak immigrant. Contrastingly Mike, his son, tried to reject his Slovak identity and earn his American identity through education. He believed that becoming “American” would allow him to live his American dream of owning material items, like appliances. Lastly, Mike’s son, Dobie, found his identity through companionship with others struggling against the steel industry. Dobie and his brother, Mikie, believed where a person was born defined their identity like how they were born in a steel town. One major factor of eastern European immigrants’ identity was their strong family ties. Kracha leveraged many family connections throughout the novel to help further himself. Mary, Mike’s wife, and Dobie created holiday memories that showed how family connections and being together were essential for support systems in immigrant families. These family ties were strained when immigrant families had to travel to …show more content…

This situation was demonstrated by how Kracha immigrated alone before he sent for his wife, Elena. Throughout the novel, many Americans looked down upon new immigrants because of the idea that more time in America made a citizen more American. At the beginning of the novel, white citizens rejected eastern Europeans as true Americans. This idea was reflected by an American of Irish descent who taunted Kracha, a first-generation immigrant, by calling him a greenhorn, meaning a newly arrived immigrant. Later on, Kracha then used racial slurs toward the black community. Discrimination also happened in the workplace where white steelworkers were able to get skilled jobs while first and second-generations of eastern European immigrants were denied this opportunity. These immigrants made up the unskilled labor force in America, making them disposable workers with low incomes. Both men and women worked strenuous, long hours that impacted their mental, emotional, and physical health. To be a Slovak woman meant being a hardworking provider of a stable household and income whose work goes without appreciation and was ignored. Men’s dismissal of the constant, back-breaking work women do often lead to negative consequences

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