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American Women - Book Report/Review Example

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Rebecca Harding Davis' wrote a short story, 'Life in the Iron Mills', which is based on the norms reflected in the capitalistic society. In the story she discusses the life of the industrial workers in the period of 1860s, a clear portrayal of differences in the industrial and elite class of the society and how the lower class realizes they have their own rights, but irrespective of that they are up to nothing…
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American Women
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Download file to see previous pages It is also the story of a man, Hugh, who is aspiring for expression and beauty, beyond his role of simple puddling. He tries to take himself away from the limits to which he is confined by the society. He is a naturally gifted sculptor; he develops unintentionally a sculpture of a lady - who is hungry, not for food but for the life itself. This sculptor is basically the depiction of Deborah.
To pursue with his dream of sculpting, he asks society to help, but the despair and selfishness of the society stands in his way. In this desolation, Deborah steals the wallet of one of the men, both are imprisoned and in the end Hugh kills himself, dying with him are his dreams of giving life to these sculptures and achieving his passions.
'The Working Girls of NewYork' was written in the same time period as the 'Life in the Iron-Mills', it was one of the series of the articles that Fanny Fern wrote under her pen name. The article reflects the rights and the capabilities of women that were willingly ignored in those days. Her works reflect the norms of the society where boys were preferred over girls, everywhere - classrooms, home etc.
Fern describes the two women, totally opposites living in the New York City, she herself terms it as the 'squalor and splendor in New York City' - one of the character emerges as the 'care- worn working girl' and another as 'the dainty fashionist'. The two contrasting female types are different in their social and the economic status. The care worn working girl is required to work all day long in the noisy factory, where there is nothing but the roar of the machinery. Not only it fathoms the working class but, also the fashionsit; she believes there is a bond between the two that associates them with each other. Both are facing the same dilemma that takes the shape of a question as 'is this all life has for me' In this way Fern has tried to address the conservatism and the indifference that hurt the women's self esteem (Gray, 2000, page 179-180).

One story reflects the death of an artist, other focuses on women as the sole subject. But, the commonality in both is treatment of the common man during that prevailing time period. The life of Hugh Wolfe, who has puddles pig iron into wrought iron, is an aspiring artist, but is stuck in his occupation of lower class middle worker.

Another similarity conspicuous in both these writings is that, Fern and Davis both targets middle class to take up their responsibilities regarding their ties to the women of the working class (Palumbo, 2000, page 143). Fern tries to place the reader in the shoes of the working class women and tries to explain to them that the working class is not to be alienated from the society and the middle class women really has the responsibility to the women employed in the hoop-skirt factory.
Both the authors have portrayed a dull and a gloomy picture, full of despair and pessimism. Davis takes into the account the capitalistic value system that has emerged as a result of the industrial revolution; the dark values emancipating from the economies of scale, mechanization and exploitation of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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