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From the Fields to the Factory The Concept of Vocation and its Evolution in American Labor Fiction

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Description: In The Way to Wealth, Benjamin Franklin defined a vocation as possessing "profit" and "honor" in equal amounts. Since the end of slavery and the beginning of the American Industrial Revolution, however, this vocational ideal has gradually eroded. The purpose of this thesis is to pair complementary works of fiction and non-fiction that represent the experiences of the American worker, whether black or white, immigrant or native-born, and their struggles and successes in pursuing the vocational ideal. Each section of the thesis will feature pairings of works from similar time periods: Frederick Douglass's Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave (1845) will be paired with Rebecca Harding Davis's Life in the Iron Mills; Horatio Alger's Ragged Dick with William Dean Howells's The Rise of Silas Lapham; and Booker T. Washington's Up from Slavery (1901) with W.E.B. Du Bois's The Souls of Black Folk (1903) and Upton Sinclair's The Jungle .
Language: English
Format: Degree Work