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The Triangle Fire was something of great interest to me this

semester. It upset me because of the injustice done to the factory


workers. Most of them were women, young and old, working in poor
conditions and living in worse. The workers of the triangle factory were
expected to work in very close quarters with little to no fresh air. They
were hardly allowed any breaks and wages were terrible. Needless to
say because of the poor wages and difficult circumstances they had to
endure at work, living conditions were much the same. The little
money they earned went straight to food for the family. Girls would
start working in the same factory as young as 14 years of age. Young
and old were expected to arrive early and did not leave until early
dusk. Because of the long hours the women had to work, there was
never much time or energy for frivolities.
Hardly any measures were taken to provide safety to the workers
in case of an emergency. Only a dozen pails of water and one fire
escape were available to the workers. The stairwells and exits were
locked by the owners to prevent any workers from taking unscheduled
breaks or stealing shirtwaists. The lack of safety measures taken in the
factory led to the death of 146 workers.
It upset me that the factory owners cared so little for their
workers. They were capitalists who had only one thing on their minds,
money. They were simple minded men with no morals. They did not
even think to install proper safety measures for their workers. They

only cared about making money, even if that meant raising the
expectations of how much work was done by the women and even
lowering their pay. What upset me most is that Isaac Harris and Max
Blanck, the owners of the triangle factory, were acquitted of all charges
because they supposedly did not know that the exit door was locked.
This discussion reminded me a lot of the different social classes
we learned about in my sociology class last semester. It made me think
of the differences in the middle and upper classes and the lower and
working classes. The middle and upper classes have their sights set on
the future, they stress rationally and have a well structured sense of
the universe. They have a better sense of choice making and are more
self-confident. The lower and working classes have their sights set on
the present and past, they think and live in a shorter expanse of time
and they are non-rational. Their sense of choice making is very limited
and they are also concerned with security and insecurity.
The workers of the shirtwaist factory were of the lower and
working classes. They were unfortunately of the mindset as
aforementioned. The sad part of it all is that they were led by corrupt
men and governed by their circumstances. They tried to change those
circumstances but were put down by the power that comes with money
and corruption. In the end, working conditions were improved as well
as wages earned, but it took a fire and the lives of 146 people for those
changes to come about.

I have learned that the worth of a human being is more than any
one man can determine. I also learned that the end never justifies the
means. You can have wealth and riches but if you do not have love for
others and dignity you are nothing.

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