Industrialization changed the traditional family structure and created a large gap in between generations. H.W already living in this world without a mother traveled with his dad to the oil mines. Sucked in by the prosperity of Industrialization, H.W’s dad, a widower, needed to create a greater life for his son immersed himself into the wealth that came along with Oil Mining. Next to the “Oil Man” was the place to be. Already a Boy with an incomplete housing structure his father was killed working for Plainview. Industrialization left already poor families incomplete and the non-working class at home having to go out to work instead of staying home and taking care of the family. Women were left to get dangerous jobs with long hours in factories or as seamstresses.
One of the first notions of interest becomes H.W, Plainview’s “son”. Where ever Plainview is his shadow is seen in HW. Everyman he encounters ask about him and Plainview proudly states it is his business partner and son. The same thoughts of all those who questions him could not fathom that H. W was not even his son at all which could never be seen in their close bond. Being an Orphan out in the dangerous Oil mines, H.W is very luckily that Daniel takes him under his wing. Especially Daniel being the man that he is . We see the conflicting images of Plainview’s character all throughout the film. The “Oil Man” on the outside a hard exterior of steel, stained with oil. As the film goes on, we peel back the layers of Plainview, we can see greed, selfishness and downright maliciousness at times. But at his heart, gold.
H.W treated as Plainview biological son was treated and held at the same esteem that Plainview was. He could have been put to work but he was a boss, always foreseeing everything on the mines and that is when he had is tragic accident. The great blast of oil thew H. W back causing him to go deaf. Although Plainview sends H.W away when he realized he could not deal with him in that moment, it was for the greater good. He cared enough to know that he did not hold the patience at that moment to deal with H.W. I feel although he was overwhelmed with grief he had to send him away. It is not until later when he is being baptized that he realizes that he needs the boy. It was not his natural born son anyway but he did hold that place and Plainview never got the chance to feel anything as grandiose only being the “Oil man” that he is. Industrialization breaking down the family structure provided for new found families out in the oil fields.