Depiction of Hugh’s gloomy life in “Life In The Iron Mills” speaks out for the lack of opportunities during the cognitive stages of the Industrial Revolution in the United States. It is impressive how Harding, being from a well to do middle class family, writes with such insight on the poor conditions of the labor class; the tone of dialogue is significantly different for the three prosperous men and the working class men.
Every person strives, given the prospect to improve their socio economic status. Due to high migration rates at the time, there was a huge supply of labor leading to lower wages and thus poor living standards. The story of Hugh is of an internal struggle. Hugh as an introvert and a social outcast is moved by the words of a well educated doctor who is impressed by his artwork. Hugh is frustrated by the fact that he doesn’t have money. Subsequently, he leaves his job at the iron mill in search of other opportunities as he believes he is capable of doing better. His decision to keep Mitchell’s wallet, leads to an unfair 19 years of imprisonment. After consecutively being unsuccessful to improve his conditions in jail he becomes mentally unstable and commits suicide.
The article portrays that the world is unfair as some people, such as young Kirby, are born with a silver spoon in their mouths while others have to struggle to improve their conditions. When provided with minimal opportunities, the lower class becomes a victim of an unjust society. In a capitalist market structure businessmen, in an effort to earn maximum profits, can become inconsiderate of the situation of the labor working for them. Similarly, the controversy of Sodexo’s employees being paid less, serves an example of how unreasonable society can be. The importance of employees at Emory’s dining halls should not be undermined. Arguably, what they are being paid is a minute amount of they deserve. The finishing statement of the essay intends to awaken the lower classes that God has promised a better future for them if they realize and revolt.