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041 Ragmen
 

Foundations of America

QU201 Prof. Scott Leone

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041 Ragmen

Ragmen were immigrant labor workers; they would either collect or deal in rags or old clothes. In chapter 7, Evelyn Nesbit is strolling around and notices all the labor workers by the streets. “Men with big moustaches smiled through their gold teeth. Street workers sat in the curbs of the heat..” (page 41) she was awed at their appearances and noticed that even children were working. Her attention immediately goes to the Little Girl in a pinafore (see 015 The Little Girl) and is amazed by what the little girl is wearing. She believed that it was the most beautiful human she has ever seen; curious enough to realize that she was tied up around her wrist connected to her father, Tateh.

“Ragmen struggling with their great junk-loaded … women selling breads from baskets.” This is a perfect overview of how the immigrants were working in order to survive; survive from poverty and slavery. Evelyn doesn’t understand why children, especially the Little Girl, had to work with their parents. She did not know how hard it was to live in the “slums.” As a society, immigrants felt the need to look out for one another. Ragtime mentions that one of the fears for women and children living in the “slums” was being captured and sold into slavery.

Every ragman had his own problems or issues to deal with; they all had to learn how to survive in the “slums.” Ragmen could’ve had the power to dominate but the fear of slavery made them feel inferior. They were treated by the upper class as if they were nothing, pure animals.



Last Updated on Saturday, 05 November 2011 03:00  

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