Immigrants and manual laborers are normally forced to work under poor conditions. The laborers are given harsh treatment in that they are not comfortable with the wage rates yet their job involves using a lot of energy. Though they keep reminding the people in control, there is little that is done to improve these conditions.
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This results to indulgence of rights activists who try to convince the ruling elite in improving the conditions of the workers. As explicatively detailed in the three novels (Germinal by Emile Zola, The Bomb by Frank Harris and the Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting in America by Barbara Ehrenreich), these themes are eminently existent and thus need to be addressed.
To begin with, most of the characters in the books are mistreated and given inhumane treatment. They are not allowed to indulge in movements that are geared towards improving their working condition.
On the contrary, the people are made to work in conditions that degrade human life and reduce the regard for human dignity. In Germinal by Emile Zola, Etienne is working in bad conditions but he is forced to work in such conditions since he has to make ends meet. This is the only work he has landed on in the new country, therefore, looking for a better work would be challenging.
In the book, The Bomb by Frank Harris, there are many workers who have boycotted their work to ensure they are given better treatment and working conditions. Instead of acting on their grievances, police are deployed to control the striking crowds of people. Lastly, in the book, Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting in America by Barbara Ehrenreich, the people who are working in the economy are given low wages. Though they are complaining, there is little that is done to make their life better.
Moreover, the three books have a deep insight based on immigrants. Immigrants are a disadvantaged lot of peons in a country. To begin with, Etienne only lands to casual jobs in the country he has landed in. though he is a slender human being, he is not in a position to land to a white collar job. This is a disadvantage that the people have to go through in enduring they have better life. In the second novel, the bomb, many of the striking workers are immigrants into the country.
They are accorded low treatment and they are obliged to take it t the streets to call for better treatment. In the third novel, immigrants do not get better treatment like the original residents of the country. It is evident that immigrants need high resilience to encounter atrocities in their life. More details regarding the intricacies of these books , in relations to the thesis statement, are given below.
Germinal by Emile Zola
Germinal by Emile Zola is considered to be a masterpiece in the French tradition. Gervaise Macquart’s son, Etienne Lantier, is an immigrant who seeks to work in coal mining in Montsou town. It happened after he lost his job in a railway workshop.
He resides in a town that is full of coal miners and tries to relate freely with the miners. He is an educated man with a bizarre violent streak but fearful. However, he is strong enough to be a manual laborer in the town. It brings out the question whether all immigrants have to work as manual laborers.
The working conditions in the mines are in a deplorable state as expressed by the author. In their prolonged stay in the mines, these conditions keep on dilapidating to an even worse state. Apparently, Etienne has lived long enough in the village and he is a respected member of the society due to his indulgence in the activities that are geared towards improving the living standards of the people.
He is declared an ideologist that could help in improving the deteriorating working conditions of the workers. Similarly, Etienne is considered as a strong political activist who could succeed in leading people to attain better working conditions.
With the impoverished state in the region, the workers decide to cause riots that sparkled violence in the area. There is a bizarre incident that occurs after the police and army officers have been deployed to reduce the riots. The workers get back to their work places and blame Etienne for a failed riot. Sabotage by a fellow worker leaves three workers trapped in the mines so they have to wait for long hours to be rescued.
Etienne, Catherine and Chaval are trapped inside the mine after the entrance shaft is blocked. After the three workers are freed, Etienne is fired from his job. Having nothing to do in the town, Etienne decides to leave the city and look for a better place of residence in Paris. The novel gives hope that a person is always destined for the greatest after encountering a string of challenges.
The Bomb by Frank Harris
This is a historical reproduction that focused on people inflicted with labor unrest in the colonial period. This is marred by eruption of violence in the city of Chicago as the workers are demonstrating against infringement of their rights as workers. The workers insinuated that their bosses were overly ruling them with little indulgence of human rights and conditions.
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The novel begins with Rudolph Schnaubelt, a German immigrant who is seeking to join the workforce in the country. He is a person who has grown in a very social background and knows how to have better relationships with people around him. However, he is driven away by the unkind environment in his country.
His country is marred with hatred for the authority and the ruling elite as they are known to record dismal performance in the development schemes of the country. He seeks refuge in Chicago just as people are experiencing labor unrest in the early 1880’s.
The rioting and demonstrations are all over the town and are increasingly causing a menace to other people who are conducting their daily businesses. To begin with, there are many workers who are working in Pullman and McCormick plants, they are discontented with the treatment they are receiving in the plants, which triggers a violent reaction from the workers sprouting into a rowdy town.
The government of the country is disturbed by the appearance of the rioting workers and in an obvious case; it deploys police and army officers to control the rioting workers. “For the first time in America, orderly meetings on vacant lots are dispersed by force” (Harris 132).
The police officers appear in full combat gear and try to disperse the rioting workers. In retaliation, Schnaubelt snaps a bomb in the midst of the battles between the police and the rioting workers. It works out in a sad way as it results into the killing of eight police men and injuring sixty people in Haymarket square. Immediately after this particular incident, Schnaubelt is forced to flee to a distant region to catch up with the procession of the events, especially after setting off the bomb in the rally.
He succeeds in getting into Bavaria where he will get all the vital information that he needs in regards to the aftermath of the bombing. This is a situation where a bomber comfortably looks from a distance of the processions that are happening after a situation that killed people and a large number writhing in pain. This is a depressingly ugly experience for people of Chicago as they have to deal with the atrocities that occur from the bombing. Apparently, people were trying to deal with their problems as an enemy attacks.
Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting in America by Barbara Ehrenreich
This is a book that reports how millions of Americans are working tirelessly but are paid peanuts. They have to work for the poverty–level wages to make ends meet. This is the only job they are capable of landing on and, in fact, life has to go on. The ruling elite promised to improve the life of people day by day, but it keeps deteriorating to even worse state.
The workers, on the other hand, are tirelessly working to make an improvement of their conditions (Ehrenreich 18). The plot starts with an undercover journalist who prepares to investigate the effects of the welfare reforms that have been introduced. This is a strategy that has been put in place to ensure that the poor people who are working tirelessly are given better wage and improved working conditions.
The novel extrapolates on how people are charged more as the expenses grow rapidly beyond what is expected. Though the expenses are rapidly growing, their wages and salaries maintain their earlier margins resulting into a recessing budgetary estimate. The workers are having a minimum wage that should be used in incurring all their expenses and costs.
The social setup in this period expresses suffering and struggling to make a niche for the families (Ehrenreich 91). Apparently, the author suggests that the spirit and dignity of such people is carried away by cultural expressions that allow people who do not have regards for justice. Such people have a different way of life that does not give respect to humanity and human dignity.
Some people are forced to become “de facto” in the society to be used by the ruling elite. The poor are made to serve the ruling epitome to earn a living. The three books extrapolate on how poor people are forced to onto manual jobs yet they are paid low wages. In addition to this ill treatment, they are not allowed to boycott their work stations. Though the boycott is a way of asking for better treatment, the ruling elite regards it as an illegal activity.
On the other hand, people on top are living lavishly and neglect those who are earning little. In the author’s quest to find full information on the developments of the society, she starts to indulge in several activities.
Indeed, the jobs have a low wage that is not enough to sustain poor people in covering all their needs. Some of the jobs the author describes include serving as a waitress, hotel maid, house cleaner and sales person. In the end, she suggests that even the “lowliest” jobs in the economy still exhaust a person’s mental and physical ability (Ehrenreich 211).
It should be mentioned that this books dwell on the social factors being disadvantages for the poor in the society. They are living in a deplorable state and have to struggle day to make their ends meet. Through their struggle, they encounter even worse experiences that make their life harder. Their grievances are kept pending by the responsible people since they have a better living in comparison to the suffering population. An outcry for help and solutions is thus, importantly, voiced by these books.
Ehrenreich, Barbara. Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America. New York: Henry Holt & Co., 2008. Print.
Harris, Frank. The Bomb. New York: HowYouWant.com., 2006. Print.
Zola, Émile. Germinal. New York: Phonereader, 1968. Print.