Instructions for Peer Review
What to include in the letters to your partners:
*Paraphrase your partner’s thesis.
* Is the thesis arguable? Why or why not?
*Does the thesis answer “how?” and “why?” and “so what?”
* How can the thesis be stronger?
* Did the introduction provide a clear overview of the topic and lead into the thesis?
* Is there a balance between summary, paraphrase, direct quotes, and responses?
* Are direct quotes properly cited?
* Are the topic sentences arguable?
* Do the direct quotes support the thesis and topic sentences and provide textual evidence?
* Does your partner analyze the quote in each paragraph?
* Does your partner answer “why?” throughout?
* Does your partner answer the “so what?” throughout?
* Does your partner dig below the surface of each textual example to provide full analysis?
* Is the thesis supported throughout the essay?
*Does your partner stray too far from the main idea of the essay?
* Does your partner transition smoothly between examples and paragraphs?
*Are there places of confusion? *Is there any repetition of ideas?
*Is the organization/structure of the essay easy to follow?
*Point to any grammatical errors and/or problems with sentence structure and word choice.
The essay I used was Serving in Florida
Everyone who works 40 hours a week makes at least minimum wage and it is obviously differentwages depending on the state you are working in. Is minimum wage enough to live off though?In her essay “Serving In Florida” Barbra Ehrenreich starts off by making well over the “average”person. She was a Scientist but then became a writer. This brings me back to the title of heressay. She decides to do an experiment in that state of Florida. She studied the working class inthe United States and relocated to several cities working as a server, trying to live off the wagesshe received. Many Americans were preoccupied with the economic growth in the 21st Century,turning a blind eye to poverty.
Barbara Ehrenreich witnessed that people living off minimum wage could live the “Americandream”. Barbara’s introduction is based on her entire experience; after her first shift as a waitressat a diner by the name of Hearthside. She then goes on describing the work environment at theHearthside diner. You get a feel for each of the employees as she describes their living scenarios.Basically half of them live in tiny apartments with more people than rooms, some live in hotels,and one of them even lives in the back of a van outside of the diner. I think she describedminimum wage perfect when she says, “you might imagine, from a comfortable distance, thatpeople who live, year in and year out, on $6 to $10 an hour have discovered some survivalstratagems unknown to the middle class. But no.” (pg. 208).
She leans on another waitress who trained her by the name of Gail. During one her shifts Gailstarts explaining that she needs to get out of her overpopulated apartment and is probably goingto end up living in the hotel for $60 a day. Barbara blatantly says to her how do you think you’regoing to be able to even afford that? She then goes on explaining that she has nowhere close toenough to get her own place. It comes along with not only rent but a deposit comes with it aswell. Barbara began her low-wage life with $1300 that soon dropped down to nothing after 1,000for the first month’s rent and deposit. After she pays rent she then goes on to talk about her otherexpenses, “$100 for initial groceries and cash in my pocket, $200 stuffed away for emergencies.In poverty, as in certain proposition in physics, starting conditions are everything”. (pg 210)If you can’t put up the two months rent you need to secure an apartment, you end up payingthrough the roof for a room by the week. Barbara then explains “If you only have a room with ahot plate at best, you can’t save by cooking up huge lentils stews that can be frozen for the weekahead” (pg 210). That basically forces the lower class to eat fast food or hot dogs that canpotentially end up making you sick from your local gas station. Which leads to health insurance.At Hearthside the insurance plan didn’t even kick in till three months of “proving” yourself. Shetalks about how she makes 5.15 an hour plus tips but depending on weather and time of themonth her tips didn’t really make a difference for her. After adding up all her money at the endof the month including her emergency money she realizes she is still $100 short for rent. Unlessshe wanted to be living out of her car she knew she would have to get another job.The way Barbara talks about her job search is that she applied to five different hotels and plus ahalf dozen locally ran guest houses and still heard nothing and that was weeks prior to the dinershe currently works in. The key element is showing how hard it is when applying for anylow-wage job. She wastes several mornings waiting for assistant managers to show up evendipped her toes into some sketchy places that clerks greet you from bulletproof class and sellpints of liquor over the counter. She tries to get work in housekeeping. Although the author doesnot say so directly, she apparently assumes that because she is a white, native English speakershe is stereotyped as a waitress.
After all of that work, she finally gets a response from another dumpy diner under the name ofJerrys for another server job. This diner was a lot busier than Hearthside. She compares theatmosphere of Jerrys to the human body and not in an appealing way. “The kitchen is a cavern, astomach leading to the lower intestine that is garbage and dishwashing area, from which issuebizarre smells combining the edible and the offal: creamy carrion, pizza barf, and that unique andenigmatic Jerry’s scent, citrus fart.” (pg.212)
The two job idea was going horribly she only had a few minutes in between jobs. The only timesshe was able to sit was either driving to either job or using the bathroom. Barbara describes howhard and how fast she has to work at Jerry’s. She even goes on to say how surprised the newwaitress that was training her was that she even showed back up for her second day. Highturnover is a major symptom when it comes to low-wage work since such workers are constantlyin an economically and financially precarious situation. The turnover is not because of laziness,but because continuing in a job is impossible.
I think that Barbara Ehrenreich put a lot of thought in conceiving this project. The chapter titlelets the reader know that she will not be the one being served but she would be doing the serving.I think that the experiment was a success, success meaning that one can’t live off minimumwage. I think she did a fine job exaggerating the low wage workplaces to people who never hadto do that type of jobs but to someone who has she might come off as judgemental just becausethose types of people will continue working those jobs probably for the rest of their lives whileshe goes back to her middle-class life.
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