Life in the Iron Mills Questions and Answers
by Rebecca Harding Davis

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Rebecca Harding Davis' Life in the Iron-Mills: Note hours, wages, working conditions, living conditions, and "the law." What does “Man cannot live by work alone” mean? What is the original saying? Could things have turned out differently? How?

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Life in the Iron-Mills describes long hours and terrible conditions. Deborah works a twelve hour shift at the "spools" and when she goes in search of Hugh with food she finds that he is still working. Wages are paltry—not enough to save, only to subsist in very poor conditions: "Their lives were like those of their class: incessant labor, sleeping in kennel-like rooms, eating rank pork and molasses, and drinking—God and the distillers only know what..."

"Man cannot live by work alone"...

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