The Factory by Mary Dilworth
In the story ”The Factory” the author Mary Dilworth writes about one of the nowadays main questions: what to choose when we have to decide between family or further a privat life for your own and career. Through out her characters she shows what can happen when the family feels left behind. And puts up the question what is really worth to achieve in life. The narrator of the story ”always hated the factory” (p. 1 l. 1), though she worked once herself in a factory as the boss’s secretary, where she also met her nowadays husband (p.
1 l. 20-22). Her hate against this institution is so strong, that she often imagined it burning down (”I’ve often imagined it without its red bricks, just an etching of black against a red sky” p. 1 l. 2-3). I assume that the narrator is rather introvert or at least not very talkative when it comes to her own thoughts and emotions towards the factory. (”Of course, I’ve never said anything about this to anyone. ” p. 1 l. 4)Infact it seems as she had grown accustom to it.
But not only her attitude towards the factory seems to differ from Erics but also her lifestyle in general seems to be the complete opposite of his; as she enjoys the natural beauty of the night with its stars and stays up late. While he goes to bed early so that he ”feels fresh then for the next day” (p. 1 l. 18) and ”always reads the business section of the newspaper” (p. 1 l. 10). That way focuses on his work in the factory and his daily routine. ”He didn’t have much eduacation” (p. 1 l.
18-19), probably because he rather grew up poor and didn’t had the chance to get a higher eduacation. This could have caused that he is so ambitious with his factory and his work; that he wants to achieve more than his parents. The factory and his on the factory depending routine are the things that matter to him the most. What can be seen in the title of the text as well as in the fact that in the text itself the narrator never directly says anything about their love and feelings for each other as a married couple, but Erics routine and the factory and how she feels about the factory.
To have a guess about the importancy of the factory to him is that he even ”would have sold almost anything to have [his sign in those flashing neon lights that the city firms can afford]” (p. 1 l. 5-8). The fact that he focuses absolutely on his work causes serious relationship problems in the engagement of the narrator and Eric; he is whether working or having a time for himself (”He always says that after such a busy day at the factory, he needs to sit and think” p. 2 l. 13-14).
So the reader gets the impression their aren’t spending much time together – except for having breakfast, lunch and dinner together – or having actually something like a harmonic parship. He treats her work as housewife with a kind of disrespect when is only appearing for the meals during which where he reads instead of having a conversation with her. While he goes to bed early to give his best at work the next day he doesn’t notice at all how his wife feels when she stays up at night, hoping the factory will burn down.
Summarized it can be said, that there is a lack of communication in their relationship, caused by his ambitions for his success with his factory. Red is in the story not just the colour of fire but also of love and passion, which the narrator misses currently. The gray that her husband became is the colour of routine, boredom and daily routine. In the ending of the story it becomes clear to the reader that the scenery the narrator always dreamed about eventually became true; Erics factory burned down.
Easily the reader gets the impression that the narrator could have something to do with it. At least she could have called the fire brigade early, but she just happily watched it burning. I think the story shows that having a successful career isn’t every thing to have in life and a very insecure way to happiness because a career can be easily destroyed – like in Erics case by a burned down factory. You can’t force happiness to come by being ambitious and focused on work and going to bed early – it’s not enough to make a happy life.
So I think the story also critizes the proverb ”Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise. Because Eric followed this rules and struggled despite of that. Even when you want to achieve a good position at your working place you should though try to find a compromise, something inbetween, because sooner or later you won’t be able to work anymore for some reason and then you will have nothing left behind.