Bell Upholds the Old Saying, “Good Girls Never Make History”

Within Out of This Furnace, Thomas Bell created two characters who contrasted in both their lives and deaths. Bell made sweetOutofThisFurnaceCover  Mary Dobrejcak bring out all the pitiful characteristics of her father, George Krach. But when Bell had the relatives think back on the life of Mary, nothing could compare to the vivid memories of those they had of Krach. Based upon these reactions of the relatives, Bell made it clear that it is those with the bad reputations that are remembered the most.

Bell wrote in the voice of Mary during Part Three, describing Mary’s life as a widow taking care of her four children while also contracting consumption. Unlike her father who practically forfeited his children after he was released from jail, Bell created a selfless mother who sold the diamond of her wedding ring as a last resort to provide for her children. Bell ended Part Three with Mary dying alone in her sanitarium room day-dreaming about what her life might have been in the years to come if she was healthy. The conclusion given by Bell is voiced in Mary’s thoughts as he wrote,

“All those years, all that living and working, taking the good with the bad and always doing one’s best, never giving up hope,—had been destined for no better end than a pointless death among strangers” (255).

And so, Bell made Mary’s memory easily forgotten by her relatives because her life had amounted to nothing, and she left nothing behind, not even a memory.

Up-Official-Movie-Poster Sequencing one drunken mistake after another in Krach’s life, Bell made Krach pathetic as he mooched off of his relatives and never stopped talking about that one time he owned his own butcher shop. Bell riddled the life of Krach with discontentment and failure, resulting in Krach’s personality to gradually matching that of the old man in Up, a stereotypical grumpy old man with a loyal dog. The ones that remembered him, Bell had resent Krach for his inexcusable lack of consideration Krach had for others. Bell did not spare hardship on any of his characters throughout the novel so that no one character had it worse than the rest. But he does reveal through Krach’s death that it is the good that are forgotten. Only those who leave a bitter taste in the mouths those they leave behind are remembered, and the Marys in the world are forgotten, upholding the old saying “good girls never make history.”

Bell did not include the funeral of Mary because there was no reason for it to be written. Mary’s funeral would have been like her death, quiet and passing. No relative would linger after her funeral and recount stories of her life because there were no memorable stories to tell if they sat around the table and reminiscence. Bell made it so that Krach left plenty of memories that stuck to the forefront of his relatives’ minds. He even included some of these memories when Dobie saw his intoxicated cousins fighting in the yard. Bell did not have Krach bring any more good into the world than Mary, but Bell had Krach’s bitterness and mistreatment toward his family members remembered far more than the quiet doings of Mary Dobrejcak.


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