Serving in Florida Analysis
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 usage of emotionally charged language, ethical and logical appeal, and varying sentence structure, Barbara Ehrenreich’s essay “Serving in Florida” reflects upon her hardships faced as a laborer receiving minimum wage in modern day America.
Made evident through the use of logic, Ehrenreich establishes her credibility and creates a trustworthy bond between herself and the readers, allowing them to feel the pain she has felt as a blue-collar employee. The logic is, specifically, sensed through the footnotes of the essay. The very fact that she has footnotes establishes a sense of knowledge; a sense that the author clearly knows what she is talking about and wants the readers to know both what she is talking about and that she is a credible source. The footnotes provide other logical tools as well: allusions, historical contexts, even citations are mentioned. In her essay, Ehrenreich claims that Jerry’s insanitation forces the employees “to walk through the kitchen with tiny steps, like Susan McDougal in leg irons” (179). Also in the footnotes, she gives a historical context for the allusion to Susan McDougal, saying that she was “imprisoned for contempt of court, fraud, and conspiracy in connection with the failed Whitewater…” (179).