Analysis Of The Book ' Out Of This Furnace ' By Thomas Bell

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In Out of This Furnace, author Thomas Bell portrays the historic stories of Slovakian immigrants who migrate to the United States with the dream of becoming a millionaire or trying to escape the oppression in their old country (Bell, 1). The novel illustrates the struggles of three generation of Slovakian immigrants in America enduring poverty, discrimination, exploitation by employers, as well as the development of labor unions. As the story progresses, the novel provides a glimpse of diverse sets of perspectives from Kracha, Mike, and finally Dobie. In examining the character Dobie, his participation in civic labor unions, and in search of his own true identity reveals the more liberal and outspoken new generation of immigrants.
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While he was working in Donora, at a very young age he stood against receiving a paycheck that was two dollars short. Dobie said “I ain’t goin’ to stand for it” (Bell, 246). His anger, frustration, and responses resonate the decades of oppression and discrimination on Slovakians immigrants. People like Kracha (Dobie’s grandfather), who came to the United States in the 1880s to escape the Austria-Hungarian oppression and poverty with the dream of becoming the millionaire, had endured such discriminations, exploitation, and racism for decades. During this era, America saw a massive growth in wealth, technologies, and industrialization, but at the same time, it added social issues. The health and safety of many laborers were neglected, and their wages were cut or increased whenever a company wanted to do so. Additionally, laborers were required to work long hours for little wages. Workers were often exploited by their employers, who even encouraged bribes before hiring for a job. It was very unlikely for Slovakians to secure many job prospects because all of the better-paying jobs were given to Irish. Laborers could not make collective bargains or submit complaints or they were often ignored by the lower level supervisor. When their distaste to such unfair treatment was expressed through strikes such as the Homestead strike, they were shut down by the company or by the government. Furthermore, laborers were often labeled as communist or anarchist in the
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