descriptions of the "Fork Factory" from Andrew Peterson's North! or be Eaten (Book Two of the Wingfeather Saga)
Janner cleared his throat. "Hello." He waited for an answer. A few of the children glanced at him but kept eating without a word. "My name's Esben.[...]Just got here."
"We can see that," said the boy directly across from him.[...]"You'll find there's not much to talk about after a while."
Janner spent the first several hours thinking of his family [...then] about the books he had recently read. He recalled the characters from the stories, the settings, the themes of the books. But his mind kept slowing to a thoughtless sludge, a world where all that mattered was the hiss of the machines and the cutting of metal. Whenever his table of mishapen blades and forks was close to empty -- but never completely empty, to his great frustration -- a child appeared with another full wheelbarrow. Whenever Janner attempted conversation with the children, they never answered or met his eyes. He wanted to grab their faces and force them to look at him, to acknowledge his presence, to act as if they were still human.
He couldn't imagine spending another day in the factory. [...He] could feel his mind shrinking. There was nothing to talk about, laugh about, or think about, except the machines. Every child who crossed his path frightened Janner more, because he knew that if he remained in the Fork Factory for long, he too would forget who he was. His eyes would glaze over, he would pass his days in mindless repetition, never thinking, never dreaming, forgetting that a wide, bright world lay outside.