Firstly, Engels introduces the reader to Manchester in terms of its geographic location, describing the hills and mountains around it, as well as mentioning the Irwell, with Irk and Medlock, two small streams. City blocks are listed further, with short comments about them. Next comes the description of the quarters where laborers live, with full details of the houses, house interiors, including the rooms where people live, and the courts near the houses. Engels accents that the houses are built very close, leaving no space for anything else people would like to have near the house. He describes the way houses are located at the very riverbank, the way courts are built around and emphasizes on the stench from the swines, kept there and fed with the food remnants. The houses from the inside look even worse than from outside, possessing small rooms with many people living together, sharing everything. Manchester is depicted as it is – with poor quarters, narrow streets, decaying infrastructure, including half-ruined houses.
Was the Industrial Revolution, looked at historically, a good or a bad thing?
Industrial Revolution destroyed the old world and created a totally new one. New machinery allowed people work with it, producing way more. It allowed more people to get employed, developing factories, plants, making the villages turn into towns, concentrating more experts of certain trades in the close areas where they could create, develop, introduce something new, improving the life of the rest of the people. The most important achievement of the Industrial Revolution is making life of the people easier and of higher quality.
Does Engels’ portrayal of Manchester support socialism? Why or why not?
Engels supports socialism even in the way he depicts Manchester. People live in the very poor conditions, but they go to work together. Lots of them came from the other towns and villages to find work at the manufactures, and inhale the air of this city. Engels shows the living condition of the people in Manchester who often have to suffer huge inconveniences in the household, but who get to go to work. They work close to their homes, as everything develops quickly, including the factories, plants, mills.