Character Analysis: Life In The Iron Mills

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Women Writers Discussion Questions for “Life in the Iron Mills” Narrator / Audience: Who is telling this story? Characterize him/her. Who is the intended audience for the story? How do we know? Who is telling this story? This story is told by an unnamed first-person storyteller relating the story of ironworker, named Hugh Wolfe to an examiner. It is in an unnamed town, telling the story of unnamed European immigrants, the Wolfe family. The speaker lives in a house whose two cellar rooms many years earlier had been home to the Wolfe family. We do not know if the story teller is a male or female. The person is seemingly of the upper class, who settled in this working-class part of this mill town, in the prior residence of the two story…show more content…
On page 73, we note one of many examples that Deborah is focused on a life beyond the earthly life: “in her heart some latent hope to meet [in heaven] the love denied her [on earth]” Another such example is when Doctor May condemns Hugh’s actions “after all [his colleagues and his] kindnesses” towards Hugh.” page 65 Minor Characters: List all the other characters in the story and briefly explain their role. Give a quote for each which illustrates what they represent. Are any of these characters foils? For whom? • Janey: a child who sleeps over at Hugh and Deb's occasionally when her father is drunk. She is clearly beautiful, which makes Deb jealous. Page 8 we find: “Little Janey, timid, helpless, clinging to Hugh as her only friend: that was the sharp thought, the bitter thought, that drove into the glazed eyes a fierce light of pain. You laugh at it? Are pain and jealousy less savage realities down here in this place I am taking you to than in your own house or your own heart…” • Haley, the jailer: “All the time Haley and the woman were laying straight the limbs and cleaning the cell, Deborah sat still, keenly watching the Quaker’s face.” page

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