Describe the experiences of women in Out of This Furnace.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Women are shown to experience some of the most challenging elements of life in Out of this Furnace.  While they do not work in the steel factories, the lives they lead are just as fraught with obstacles and dangers.  The first chapter establishes this condition, one that Kracha knows all too well:

Kracha knew as well as the next man those dismal tales that had drifted back to the old country- about trusting immigrants robbed and beaten their first day in America... about husbands found in alleys with their throats cut from ear to ear while their brides of a month vanished forever into houses of prostitution.

Women are shown to be forced to experience the curse of living in a condition of absolute fear.  There is little way to guarantee the health and well- being of the husbands upon whom they depend.  The reality is that they must endure constant fear in what their lives might become.  The constant threat of prostitution and sexual degradation is a state of being that makes their lives fundamentally more challenging than those of men.  At the same time, Kracha's lack of financial stability and prosperity reflects another challenge that women must face.  In addition to being dependent on their husbands during the time period, the low wages that were given to them had to be stretched and lasted for an inordinate period of time.  Kracha's wife ends up experiencing this reality and, in the process, reflects another challenge intrinsic to the condition of women at the time.

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