The Company Man

Topics: Death, Regular expression, Meaning of life Pages: 2 (531 words) Published: May 27, 2014

Ellen Goodman’s satirical essay The Company Man, analyzes the life of a man named Phil, “a workaholic”, a “perfect type A” that had almost literally “worked himself to death”, working everyday for hours, until one Saturday at 3:00 a.m., Phil dies quite ironically, on his only day off of the week. Goodman depicts Phil’s life as a typical “Company Man”, an industrialist that had worked too hard for nothing, revealing callous feelings toward Phil by using repetition and a business-like wording to create a neutral tone.

Constant repetition is on how Phil always overworked himself, how he was “overweight and nervous”. This not only emphasized the dullness of Phil’s life, but reflected on the reality of the day-to-day routine Phil lived. He subsisted in the same day, everyday, throughout his whole life. Spending the majority of his life at work, in fact “He worked himself to death…”. Practically going into his working place, wearing generally the same attire as the day before (except on Saturdays, when he wore a sports jacket to work because it was the weekend), he even ate that same “egg-salad sandwich” for lunch each day. Phil’s life was obviously not the most exciting, Goodman reveals this by constantly referencing these habits and lifestyle choices. Repetition on how “He worked himself to death, finally and precisely, at 3:00 a.m. Sunday morning” emphasizes his boring life, supporting Goodman’s disinterest in Phil.

In the description of Phil’s life Goodman keeps her text general, forming an emotionless and opinionless tone. Going through the “significant parts” of Phil’s life, Goodman strays away from going into depth or detail about Phil’s relationship with his family and work life. She explains a conversation held at the funeral: “…the sixty-year-old company president told the forty-eight-year-old widow that the fifty-one-year-old deceased had meant much…”, classifying people by their age and titles, not by their physical or personality features, not...
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