Speechless Protest

In both Modern Times by Charlie Chaplin and the Paradise of Bachelors and the Tartarus of Maids by Herman Melville, the workers suffer in between individuality and the whole system of industrialization. Whereas Chaplin, at first, is physically unable to stop his actions of turning the screws and later mentally goes mad and gets send to psychiatric hospital, the girls have also been dehumanized by the machinery in the factory.

Under his demanding boss, Chaplin is forced to work faster and faster to achieve efficiency, and he does not even have the time to scratch his face or rest a bit. He is unable to catch up with the speed and eventually goes crazy and turns every screw, button, and even human body he sees. From this situation, it is obvious that industrialization has became too overwhelmed to people at the age, and Chaplin is telling the audience that technology has a negative side that damages individuality. Further, he has a horrible working environment, which is dirty and he even has to become one of the experimenter for the new invention of food feeder that is not functioning. He even rather stays in the prison than come back to the work field because prison has a better living condition. Overall, the film is a speechless protest for the workers and the unemployed who live miserably during the Great Depression.

Similarly, the girls have to work with the “inflexible iron animal” (Melville 1277) in the paper mill. The machine is described as animal to depict its ruthlessness, which is a share trait with Chaplin’s boss. Also, Melville describes, “The girls did not so much seem accessory wheels to the general machinery as mere cogs to the wheels,” (Melville 1271). From this quotation, we can infer that the girls have been dehumanized by the machines, or even become parts of the machine. Just like Chaplin, the girls have terrible working condition, in which they devote themselves and their lives entirely to the machines and the factory. While Chaplin speaks for the workers in the Great Depression, From Melville, he advocates the awareness for unfair treatment of the girl workers, similar to Chaplin’s intention to speak for the workers and the unemployed in Great Depression.

Both Modern Times and the Paradise of Bachelors and the Tartarus of Maids discuss about the ruthless authority in the factories, Chaplin’s boss and the machines that the girls rely on, and the dehumanization of the workers.