Thomas Bell's novel Out of This Furnace is a historical novel which illustrates the realities faced by members of Bell's own family. The novel depicts the trials and tribulations immigrants faced regarding Americanization, industrialism, and unionization.
The opening chapter, "Kracha," tells of Kracha's coming to America, "by way of Budapest and Bremen." Kracha has been warned about America and the strangers who may try to do him wrong. Kracha, like many other immigrants, wished for escape form his current life.
The opening paragraph of the chapter provides specific examples regarding why immigrants like Kracha would leave their homes in order to begin new lives in America. Essentially, Kracha desires the "American Dream" (the ability to make something of one's self in America). He, and others like him, wanted to leave "behind the endless poverty and oppression which were the birthrights of a Slovak peasant in Franz Josef's empire" (3).
Outside of this, Kracha had no other expectations. He knew what to be wary of (strangers, murderers, and thieves). Yet, he was not warned about whiskey and women. These proved to be Kracha's downfall (similar to others like him).