Paired Texts > The Life of a U.S. Industrial Worker
We've identified these texts as great options for text pairings based on similar themes, literary devices, topic, or writing style. Supplement your lesson with one or more of these options and challenge students to compare and contrast the texts. To assign a paired text, click on the text to go to its page and click the "Assign Text" button there.
This article provides a brief history of labor unions, including common tactics and important advances in workers' rights.Pair “Workers’ Rights and the History of Labor Unions” with “The Life of a U.S. Industrial Worker” and ask students to discuss what they learned from both informational texts. How does the former inform their understanding of the latter? How does each text frame the subjects of labor and working class lives?
"Song of the Shirt" (1843) by Thomas Hood is a lyrical, repetitive poem narrated from the perspective of someone in the working class.Pair “The Song of the Shirt” with “The Life of a U.S. Industrial Worker” and ask students to discuss how each text portrays working class lives in England and the U.S., respectively. Ask students to compare the imagery used in each text—what effect does this imagery produce? What does it contribute to the tone of each passage?
In this short memoir, a Lithuanian immigrant tells of his hopes, struggles, and successes throughout his experience coming to America.Pair “From Lithuania to the Chicago Stockyards” with ““The Life of a U.S. Industrial Worker” and ask students to discuss the living conditions of workers in the United States. What challenges did they face? How does being an immigrant further complicate matters? Use this text as a challenge for students with more advanced reading levels.
In the informational text "Chocolate from Children," Deb Dunn discusses how child laborers pick cocoa beans for chocolate.Pair “The Life of a U.S. Industrial Worker” with “Chocolate from Children” to provide students with additional information about child labor. Ask students to discuss how child labor during the Industrial Revolution compares to child labor today on cocoa farms. Why is child labor unfair and dangerous? How did people create change during the Industrial Revolution? How does this compare to how people are creating change for child laborers and slaves today?
In "Working on the Farm: Children on the Move," Mike Weinstein discusses the migrant children who work on farms in the United States.Pair “The Life of a U.S. Industrial Worker” with “Working the Farms: Children on the Move” to provide students with information about another time in history when young children worked. Ask students to compare the work that children did during the Industrial Revolution with the work that children are doing now as migrant workers. Are students surprised that children continue to be allowed to work today, especially at such a young age? Why or why not?