An Analysis of “Blue-Collar Brilliance”

Topics: Working class Pages: 2 (797 words) Published: August 15, 2013
An Analysis of “Blue-Collar Brilliance”
Mike Rose has spent most of his life watching those defined as “blue-collar” workers with much appreciation. He would watch his mother, Rosie, and his uncle, Joe, work to their fullest potential with skills he had never really seen anywhere else except in their “blue-collar” world. Mike believes that the way his family worked, as well as others considered “blue-collar”, are intelligent in their own ways and are underappreciated compared to the way he sees them.

Mike begins by stretching out his mother’s life as a hard working waitress. He points out all of the things he watched her do like “[take] customers’ orders…, [walk]… through the room with plates stretching up her left arm…, [removing] a plate for this person, another for that person,” etc. (Rose 393) He could see her “remembering who had the hamburger, who had the fried shrimp, [and] almost always getting it right.” (Rose 393) She had everything planned out as she moved around the room, thinking things like “what could she do first, then second, then third?” (Rose 394) It was amazing to watch his mother do all of these things while “waiting on seven to nine tables, each with two to six customers.” (Rose 393) One person taking care of thirty-two people, more or less, at one time and trying to keep track of everything they ever told her, as far as what they wanted to eat, drink, or if she could bring them, another fork, an extra plate, you name it, and his mother was the one to do it. Mike’s uncle, Joe, who worked quite similarly as Mike’s mother, even moved up in his occupation “from working on an assembly line to supervising the paint and body department.” (Rose 396) Even Joe said the assembly line was “like schooling” since he was “constantly learning”. (Rose 396) Joe “constantly faced new problems and became a multi-tasker.” (Rose 396) In the end, “he not only solved problems but also began to find problems to solve.” (Rose 396) Joe lacked “formal knowledge”...

Cited: Rose, Mike. “Blue-Collar Brilliance”. The Norton Reader: 13th Edition. W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. New York, NY. 2012.
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