Short Story: The Gilded Age

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The late 19th century is commonly referred to as the “Gilded Age”. A time of luxury and success, for some at least. For others, this was a time of struggle, hard work, and new beginnings. Child-workers are one group that did not experience the so-called “luxury” of this epoch. Our story begins with a poor child-worker named Arabella, or Bella. Bella was 11 years old and she lived in the slums of New York with her mother and seven younger siblings. Her father had recently died from an injury he received during the Civil War and her mother was deathly ill. Since she was the oldest of her siblings, it was her responsibility to provide for her family. She worked at a textile factory on the other side of town. At that factory, she worked 18 hours…show more content…
She walked through the cold metal doors and up the stairs to the fifth floor. With each step she took, her body shivered about one million times, for the inside was no warmer than the outside. Once she got up to the fifth floor, she heard a blood-curling scream. “BELLLLLLAAAAAA!” the floor manager shouted. “You are late!” he said, as he got closer and closer to her face. “There is no excuse for that, even for a piece of scum like you,” he told her. He then gave her the worst ad possibly the most dangerous position on the floor – the machine…show more content…
She had some minor burns and singed hair, not that the manager cared. All the manger cared about was production, and well this was not productive. He picked her up by her shirt, threw her out in the snow, and screamed “YOU’RE FIRED YOU INCOMPETENT SCUMBAG!” Bella then picked herself up, and walked home. On her way home, she found a newspaper on the ground and she took it. When she got to her home, she looked through the newspaper for job openings. She decided that tomorrow she would go out and beg for jobs. Although for now, she did not have much time to look for jobs because she had to fix dinner for her family. The family of nine shared one serving of boiled cabbage. After dinner, if you could even call it that, Bella tucked everyone into bed. She then laid down on the cold floor in her dirty ragged clothes and whispered to herself, “Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.” The life of a child-worker, as shown by Bella, is difficult. There is hardship. There is Struggle. There is pain. While other children get to experience the joy of childhood, child-workers must mature very quickly in order to provide for themselves and their family. They work hard and receive very little in return. However, people like Bella must continue through

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