During the 19th century there was huge boom in industry, great expansion and growth, and the need for machinery.  Rural farm areas were becoming less populated and people were moving to cities. Labor in factories was becoming more prevalent. Two pieces of literature that show peoples reaction to the pain of those changes are “Out,Out” and “Hawl”. These poems both attacking the way life had changed.

The poem “Out,Out” is about a young boy who gets his hand cut off by a buzz saw. In those times child labor was normal, and the boy in the poem represents letting children work under such conditions. The feel that a child must feel is brought out in line 26 “Don’t let him cut off my hand- the doctor when he comes.” Its almost like children were having to grow up too fast, and had no choice in the matter. Lines 22-23 ” Since he was old enough to know, big boy doing a mans work” They put children in factories even before puberty if they were “old enough to work” then they could. This poem fully embrases the fears of child labor.

In those days when so much was changing people thought in a very negative way about the cities, businesses, and industries. In the poem “Molach” it brings these negative feeling to life. Molach was a cananite fire god that parents would sacrafice their kids to. In the poem they are comparing the city to molach. Line 83 when they talk about demonic industries, its like they were implying that the new industries were of the devil, and the working conditions were killing people. It also implys that people had lost or sold their soul to the city. Lin 82 “Molach who’s love is endless oil, and stone…soul is electricity and banks.” All the people were concerned with was inventions and money. they were no longer humane, but greedy. All generations were effected, and people cared only for what they could earn no longer had morals and values.

The times were changing dramatically, people no longer knew what to believe in so they went against all that was new and somewhat unknown. Although growth was necassary in those times, people were afraid and conditions were bad. therefore they were against this new way of life and wrote to spite it.



It is not as easy as people think to depict what one should call literature. Post-Modernist have a hard job on their hands. Deciding what should and should not go into a literature class or Antholigized book of literature. Who decides what is good or beautiful American Literature? What is Important? What should people read or be required to read in a literature class?

The poem “Wishes for sons” Depicts all the things women go through that men do not have to. In this poem she wishes all the things upon men that women have to go through yet men are unaware. In those times people would have thought that this poem is gritty, vulgar, and just nasty. Lines 8,9,and 10 ” later I wish them hot flashes and clots like you wouldn’t beleive.” In class we discussed that one persons trash is another persons treasure. As a Women I understand to wish these things upon men, and putting it in an anthology will require that men read it. Lines 5, and 6 ” I wish them one week early and wearing a white skirt.” Men do not reolize the little things that women have to worry about. To some this poem is wierd and nasty, but to some they know what she is talking about.

A short story that we read was “Do not go Gentle” About a women and a man who are in the hospital with there sick baby. This was one of the most controversial stories to talk about becuase in many ways it challanged the normal way people consider literature. Even in the very first line it suprises the reader that anyone would write in this way. ” My wife and I didn’t know Mr. Grief untill our baby boy got his face stuck between his matress and suffocated himself blue.” This story is very bold to say the least, even later in the story he talks about finding hope in “Chocolate Thunder” a huge dildo? He presents it to his wife who waves it over the babies head. When you are stricken with grief you can seem to find hope in almost anything. I think one has to consider the circumstances present before judging. Anything that puts you out of that comfort zone, that what you knew as good literature is easily regected, but when concidering this it makes you think a little more out of your box.

Are these work to be accepted, and concidered Great American Literature? Should they be included? Well I suppose someone thought they should. Personally in class I beleive we had good discussion on them. It forever changed the way I thought about literature, and how I react to things “Weird” and “Contoversial.”