Out of This Furnace

Out of This Furnace

Out of This Furnace Part 4, Chapter 4 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Near the end of the coldest winter in years, Julie and Dobie walk along McKean Avenue window-shopping for stoves, blankets, and dishes. They need at least three rooms for Kracha to move in with them, and they discuss acquiring used furniture from family members, including Mike’s old desk from Dobie’s uncle Joe. They talk about how the wedding can only happen if Dobie can go back to work soon, and though they hope things will work out, Dobie looks up into the sky after dropping off Julie and is unsure “whether to shake his fist at it or to pray.”
Dobie’s uncertainty over the fate of his job and, by extension, the fate of his life together with Julie represents a moment where he comes close to embracing the despair that engulfed Mike. Mike rejected God in a fit of drunken despair, but Dobie does not go that far—though he is tempted.
Themes
Industrialization and Destruction Theme Icon
A few days before Dobie’s 30th birthday, President Roosevelt declares a bank holiday, and many banks do not reopen, including the one in Braddock where Dobie keeps Mary’s insurance money in trust for Agnes. Agnes does not know if she will ever get her money. Dobie tells her that many people in Braddock are worse off than she is, but he thinks the bank will eventually reopen. Dobie is excited about the recent swirl of activity that constitutes Roosevelt’s New Deal, including the government’s takeover of relief activities. As a result, the steel mills have sprung back to life, and Dobie is now working three days a week. Julie schedules the wedding for the third Sunday in June, and Dobie puts a deposit on a four-room house in North Braddock.
The New Deal policies of the Roosevelt administration constitute the first time in the novel where politicians actually help the steelworkers alongside the steel companies. While the rampant bank failures put faith in established institutions into question, Dobie experiences direct relief from federal policies that literally give him his job back. This represents a key moment, as it shows Dobie that large political entities actually can aid the common worker.
Themes
The American Dream vs. Reality Theme Icon
Dobie and Julie are married on a hot June day in the Greek Catholic Church. Kracha stays sober and Agnes is the maid of honor, although she is angry when she receives a check for only a bit over $50 from the bank. Compounding her misery, her fiancé, Hornyak, flees to Cleveland to seek a job. She never hears from him again.
Hornyak's sudden departure, combined with the small amount of the check, underscores the difficulty of Agnes's situation. Agnes has worked as diligently as any of the other women in the novel, but her fortunes here show again that women's work often goes unrewarded.
Themes
Women’s Work Theme Icon