Monday, April 12, 2010

Factory Scene from Modern Times

At the end of Chapter 13 in Upton Sinclair’s Jungle it states, “for the woman worked so fast that the eye could literally not follow her, and there was only a mist of motion, and tangle after tangle of sausages appearing. In the midst of the mist, however, the visitor would suddenly notice the tense set face, with the two wrinkle graven in the forehead, and the ghastly pallor of the cheeks; and then he would suddenly recollect that it was time he was going on. The woman did not go on; she stayed right there—hour after hour, day after day, year after year, twisting sausage links and racing with death. It was piecework. And she was apt to have a family to keep alive; and stern and ruthless economic laws had arranged it that she could only do this by working just as she did, with all her soul upon her work, and with never an instant for a glance at the well-dressed ladies and gentlemen who came to stare at her, as at some wild beast in a menagerie”.

This scene greatly reminded me of Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times, where he is stuck in the factory doing monotonous work. They expect him to be like the machine in order to keep up with the machine. And just as the machine, he will not be able to stop his work. Then salesmen come into the factory to sell an idea to remove “lunch time”, so that more work can be done. It is all about efficiency and the largest profit margin and there is no consideration taken into the fact that they are only human. Industrialization and Capitalism create a world for the working class of not only survival solely through labor, but just like the machine if they cannot work they are replaced.

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