Life in the Iron Mills by Rebecca Harding Davis

4 April 2015
This paper discusses the story, “Life in the Iron Mills,” from a social commentary perspective.

The following paper discusses the story by Rebecca Harding Davis with an aim to show the beginning of a resurgence of interest in a woman whose first major work wrought radical changes in how fiction would be written and read in America.

From the paper:

“Life in the Iron Mills” has been called “one of the revolutionary documents in American literary history.” The same year it was published by Atlantic Monthly, then America’s leading national magazine, the country became embroiled in the Civil War.

The narrator of this story is very familiar with, but at the same time very removed from the world she describes. She takes the reader on a tour of a factory town and an iron mill, where a young man named Hugh Wolfe shovels coal for the iron furnaces. Hugh is worshiped by his cousin, Deborah, who while visiting Hugh at the Mills steals the wallet of leading males citizen of the factory town when he comes through the mills for a tour and notices, along with the other men on the tour, the korl woman figure sculpted by Hugh.

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