Sunday, September 7, 2008

Critique of Workers by Matt Duncan

I just finished reading Workers by Richard Rodriguez, his description of the work environment and manual labor in general really hits the nail on the head. "My arms, tightened by sleep, would gradually loosen; after only several minutes, sweat would gather in beads on my forehead and then--a short while later--I would feel my chest silky with sweat in the breeze." The description that Rodriguez uses in this quote makes me feel like I am working right beside him drenched in sweat, with my arms about to give out. Also, the way that Rodriguez describes the social segregation in the work environment is so sadly true that I can close my eyes and see the Hispanic workers sitting, talking quietly amongst themselves. This just goes to show the simplistic views our society has of the manual labor force, and how quickly we can be to Americanize foreigners.

Since my dad owns his own construction company I have had to do manual labor the past three summers and the way that Rodriguez describes the work scene, I get mental images of work sites that I have been a part of. I feel ties to the author because when I first set foot on a job site I had no idea what to expect and I didn't know a lot about tools or manual labor, but I acted like I did to fit in with the other workers. The quote, "After that summer, a great deal--and not very much really--changed in my life" happens right after Rodriguez decides that he does not want to end up like the other workers, that manual labor wasn't for him. After being a manual laborer those lines hit home for me because I quit working with my dad in order to go back to school and do something about my life; I did not want to become a manual laborer the rest of my life and like Rodriguez and I well on my way to changing that.

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