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Bella, newly arrived in New York City from Calia, Italy, has come to America to earn money for her family. After the death of her father, she, her mother, her sister, and her brothers have not been able to buy food. To add to the trouble, all of the animals on the farm died and the harvests were unsuccessful. She gets a job at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. There, along with 500 other immigrants, she works long hours at a grueling job under terrible conditions. Yetta, a coworker from Russia, has been crusading for a trade union. When factory conditions worsen, workers rise up in a strike. Wealthy Jane learns of the workers and becomes involved with their cause.
Bella and Yetta are at work and Jane is visiting the factory on March 25, 1911, when a spark ignites piles of cloth 125 layers thick, being ready to use when they come back to work on the following Monday, and the building is engulfed in fire, leading to one of the worst workplace disasters in history. In the end, only Bella lives. Jane was burned alive and Yetta and her lover, Jacob, jumped from the eighth floor, through the nets at the bottom and died. Bella survived by going onto the roof and climbing to a nearby building and out their exit. Bella, being the only one who survived, is now able to tell of the story of her friends to her two daughters, Yetta and Jane.
Correlation to Historic Events
This book tells the story of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. On March 25th, 1911, a small fire started and quickly spread from shirtwaist to shirtwaist, shortly engulfing the whole factory. The events of this fire are directly said in the novel.
- Bella- A teenage girl from Calia, Italy. She left Italy to go to America so she can bring her family to America once she has enough money. She worked at the Triangle Shirtwaist factory.
- Yetta- A Russian, Jewish, girl who immigrated to Americe a few years after her sister, Rahel, to bring their family to America to have a better life. Yetta and her sister, Rahel, worked at the Triangle Shirtwaist factory. "Yetta was very excitable" (170).
- Jane- A rich girl who wants to help the girls who work at the Triangle Shirtwaist factory. She learns that the factory workers are treated horribly and tries to become one of them to break out of her own cage.
- Rahel- Yetta's sister. She worked at the Triangle Shirtwaist factory but left after the strike to join her husband, Mr. Cohen, in running his supermarket.
- Pietro-Bella's cousin who helped her when she first moved to America
- Signora Luciano-The woman who Bella stays with for most of the book
- Ohioana Book Award for juvenile literature
- New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age
- International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award nominee
- Haddix, Margaret (2007). Uprising. 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, New York: SIMON & SCHUSTER. pp. 1–330. ISBN 978-1-4169-1172-2.
- "Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire - Facts & Summary - HISTORY.com". HISTORY.com. Retrieved 2017-02-20.
- "Uprising | Margaret Peterson Haddix". haddixbooks.com. Retrieved 2017-02-18.