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Serving in Florida Analysis

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Kaitlyn Binder

AP Language and Composition

Mrs. Kubus

7 November 2016

Serving in Florida Analysis

        The lower class is defined as the working class. I am here to tell you it’s a lot more than that. After reading Barbara Ehrenreich’s “Serving in Florida,” I have come to the realization that the world is not as it seems. “It’s not always rainbows and butterflies,” as Adam Levine so eloquently put. Ehrenreich’s feelings towards the piece are a multitude of attitudes including contemplative, didactic, reverent, and solemn. This essay is organized into three different sections that reflect her tone towards the composition. There are many elements of figurative language that also pertain to Ehrenreich’s position on the paper. Finally, her attention to detail reveals her thoughts on “Serving in Florida.”

        First off, this essay is split into three sections. The first section goes from the first to the fifth paragraph. The second section encompasses the sixth through the tenth paragraph. The final section includes paragraphs eleven through sixteen. The first section focuses on her first of two problems – management. The second looks at her second issue – financial troubles. The third addresses the working class and the new job she had to take on to get rid of those financial troubles discussed in section two. Throughout the essay, as a whole, she reflects upon, educates us on, remains respectful towards, and stays somber in regards to the lower class. Specifically, in section one, she educates us on lower class workers, especially the management. She also gives a peek into life as an industry worker. In section two she works on showing just how difficult living the life of a lower-class citizen can be. The third section is dedicated to reflecting on the hardships she has faced. For example, “the break room summarizes the whole situation: there is none, because there are no breaks at Jerry’s.” found in paragraph twelve, shows just how hard of a time she has had working. She gains a newfound respect for the lower-class as she walks in their shoes. She also states “because work is what you do for others; smoking is what you do for yourself,” and in this she realizes how sad it is that people have to be addicts to something unhealthy in order to do something for themselves. From the start of the essay, Ehrenreich retains a sort of serious tone to her composition. She does not joke around and does not have a playful tone; she recognizes what she is talking about as a serious issue and as a result she is not taking it lightly.

        Generally speaking, there are many elements of figurative language present in this essay that tie in with Ehrenreich’s attitude towards her piece. One are the three appeals. Ethos is prevalent in “Serving in Florida.” “I could drift along like this, in some dreamy proletarian idyll” in paragraph one is one example. Another would be “it strikes me, in my middle-class solipsism, that there is gross improvidence in some of these arrangements” which is found in paragraph seven. Then there is “my own situation, when I sit down to assess it after two weeks of work would not be much better if this were my actual life” which is in paragraph nine. All three of these appeal to ethos because by using complex vocabulary or by showing how much time has passed one could assume that she was a credible source. “You might imagine…have discovered some survival stratagems unknown to the middle class. But no.” is an appeal to pathos in paragraph six. There are a lot of appeals to pathos in this essay, because this is an argumentative essay – she plays on the reader’s emotions to try to convince them of her side, which in this case, is to show that the lower class have it really hard. The survey and “there are no secret economies that nourish the poor, on the contrary, there are a host of special costs” in paragraphs six and eight appeal to pathos as well. Logos was a little harder to find, but it was still in there. One of them is “the sum in the drawer is piling up… I have to find a second or alternative job.” which is found in paragraphs nine through ten. Another example is “always some vital substance missing… you learn to stuff your pockets with napkins before going in there,” in paragraph eleven, and it is referring to the restrooms at Jerry’s and because she knows there is no three vitally important things at once, she has to bring some in. Just like how she had a job but was going to be a hundred dollars short of the rent, so she had to pick up a different job. This is just common sense.

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