Serving in Florida Analysis

1752 words 8 pages
Jerry’s: White-Collar Scholar to Blue-Collar Waitress
Creamy carrion, pizza barf, decomposing lemon wedges, and water-logged toast crusts; sounds like the typical garbage can. Would anyone believe that these phrases apply to a run-down restaurant in the middle of Florida? Barbara Ehrenreich goes undercover at a local fast food diner known as Jerry’s to investigate life as a blue-collar laborer, serving to customers arriving in “human waves” (Ehrenreich 180). It is throughout her journey working for both Jerry’s and a factory known as Hearthside that she learns the difficulties faced with minimum wage and severe working conditions, and how the career you pursue and the environment that the career puts you in can change you. Through the
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She makes it her mission to teach George English, something that the people who had shipped him there didn’t bother making sure he knew before he moved to America. The fact that she goes through all if this trouble for a complete stranger appeals to the readers sense of morality; by doing the right thing and helping out someone whom no one could be bothered to help, it seems as if the hardships she has gone through have motivated her to help others so that they don’t have to face the hardships of being a new employee alone. In the final part of the essay, George is caught stealing from the dry-storage room after he had been fired (George was still working there until they could find a replacement for him). After she had been told this information, she wishes she had defended George, writing that “if he had taken anything at all–some Saltines or a can of cherry pie mix…that the motive for taking it was [probably] hunger” (186). She realizes that by not defending him, she wasn’t doing the right thing; she feels “something loathsome and servile” (186) that caused her to stay quiet. She realizes that Jerry’s, or any minimum wage jobs, with terrible working conditions can wear a person out enough to make that person shed the courage that is required to take that job in the first place; it’s incredibly hard to remain brave in the


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