The Theme Of Autonomy In Attaway's Blood On The Forge

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Reimaging the American Dream: Industrialization and Autonomy in the North Attaway’s Blood on the Forge touches on themes such as the destruction of nature, the emptiness and hunger that the working characters experience, the complications of the individual in a depersonalized world, and the myth of the American Dream. The Moss brothers are in constant pursuit of a better life. With the lost sense of identity and self between body and machine, this novel depicts how industrial technology dehumanizes the working class laborers and alienates workers from the products of their labor. The three Moss brothers; Melody, Chinatown, and their older brother, Big Mat, flee the harsh southern Kentucky life for the laborious Pennsylvania steel mills, each…show more content…
Just like the mill took Melody’s blues away, it also took Chinatown’s ability to endure. “Known as the joy of the crowd, Chinatown seemed to smile constantly; his habit of narrowing his eyes like those of a Chinaman earned him his nickname. The steel mill takes from him the one thing from the past which assured his identity, his eyes…” (Hamilton 155). Chinatown is very focused on the outer appearance of things. He worked all season for a gold tooth and had one of his front teeth pulled so the gold one could replace it. “He would rather die than part with that shiny tooth…” (Attaway 5). Chinatown is later involved in a devastating accident at the mill where fourteen men were killed and Chinatown was left blind. The Chinatown before could bring laughter wherever he went, he saw humor in everything. After the accident he is only a “shade of his former self” (Pinckney xv). “Chinatown…never really attempts to participate in the new environment; he goes to his shift at the mill, rarely works, yet still cannot escape its oppression” (Hamilton 155). The irony in this is that while trying to escape the mill, the mill is now imbedded in his mind; it’s the last place he saw with his physical

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