Humanities
Serving in Florida Article Essay

Question Description

prompt:

  1. The significance of one’s environment in their opportunity for success has been a major focus point in this chapter. Using the ideas presented in Barbra Ehrenreich’s essay “Serving in Florida” write an essay in which you make an argument about the idea of opportunity in America. Give specific examples from Ehrenreich’s essay that demonstrate the idea of environment having a direct effect on one’s chances for success.
 You must use three additional sources*, which you cite directly. You may use one of the other assigned essays from the “money and success” chapter of our textbook as one of your three additional sources.


establish your own thesis that is inspired by the source identified in the prompt. Do not cite a source in your introduction so that your thesis stands out, and it does not appear you are simply echoing or repeating the source. Your thesis is the next step in the argument, be it for or against the source author's point. You are not writing an analysis or explication of the source essay of the prompt--doing so would limit your grade to no better than a C. The article identified in the prompt is no more important than the other research you will include.

Your essay must begin with an introduction that contains a clearly defined, purpose driven, and arguable thesis. The introduction should clearly identify any supporting main ideas that will support the thesis. Body paragraphs should contain minor claims (topic sentences) that advance controlling ideas and that support the thesis. All ideas should be supported with evidence. Your paper must cite examples from the stated texts in the prompt and from your outside sources*. Each example must be supported with critical thinking that explains the significance of the chosen quotation/citation as is relates to your ideas. In your conclusion make a final statement that clearly identifies why what has been shown in your essay is important.

*additional sources must come only from the following: an article located on EBSCOhost (or from a similar database), an article in a major newspaper or magazine, or a book (but not the class textbook or other course material); sources that do not meet this criteria will not count toward the minimum required sources.

*You may cite the film Trading Places, however it does not count toward the minimum required additional sources.

Your paper must:

include an original title that speaks to your thesis

be a minimum of 4 full pages (approximately 1400-1500 words)

contain a minimum of 4 cited sources

be typed, double-spaced, using Times New Roman 12pt font

be formatted according to MLA

use MLA guidelines for in-text citations and Works Cited page

be written using strictly an academic, third-person point-of-view

Attachment preview

Serving in Florida

What’s it like to live on minimum wage? As a journalist preparing to write about working-class life, Barbara Ehrenreich decided to take a series of unglamorous jobs- Waitressing, housecleaning, retail sales.

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Final Answer

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Serving in Florida: An Analysis
In “Serving in Florida”, Barbara Ehrenreich presents a first-person account about the
hardships that come with living in poverty. Ehrenreich immersed herself into the world of dead end jobs in Florida, taking up work as a server or as a housekeeper – whatever is necessary for
her to survive until the next paycheck. Throughout the essay, Ehrenreich showcases the various
issues that can befall individuals in low-paying jobs. Though all these issues are rooted in the
individual’s inability to earn a decent wage – and achieve, through it, the right to a life of
decency – they will take different forms based on the material reality of the individual who sees
themselves affected. One theme, though, that can be identified throughout the essay is that an
individual’s environment will have a deep-rooted influence on their ability to survive in the
United States. Though Ehrenreich does not speak blatantly about the way in which environment
will affect an individual’s opportunity to succeed, but this is made explicit through the different
scenarios showcased throughout the essay. Through the real struggles that Ehrenreich and other
workers had to endure would demonstrate how a person’s environment will determine the types
and quality of jobs to which they have access, the impact that their jobs will have on their health,
and the amount of time that these jobs will take from them. Together, these factors will hinder
the possibility of the working poor to reach a better economic landscape.
Ehrenreich, like other workers who live in this particular area of Key West, Florida, is
confined to search for employment within the city’s most thriving area, in a “cluster of budget

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hotels that constitute Key West’s version of the industrial park” (Ehrenreich, 2017). All of the
jobs that she takes, forsakes and seeks are confined to the service industry: a server, housekeeper,
or a front-desk clerk. Like her, the other workers around her are confined to similar roles – as a
fellow server, a dishwasher, cook – or, if not, to the same stagnant industry through a managerial
role. Either way, these individuals are stuck with these options, even if they are not well-paying
or otherwise nourishing. Some of these jobs, like housekeeping, are recognized by Ehrenreich as
a “dead-end” because they do not provide any opportunity at mobility (2017). While it could be
argued that these individuals could simply look for a different job, or look for a job elsewhere,
the scenario is rarely so straightforward. Though the world has seen massive improvements in its
technological capabilities and its production networks, “35 percent of all jobs produced are lowskill jobs” (Vidal, 2013). In economies like those of the United States, the market force will
work with two extremes: “mainly in high-wage and low-wage service work” (Burgard, et al.,
2013). Most workers only have access to the low-wage jobs. Vidal argues that this push towards
a reduction of wages for workers and a reduction in their opportunity to access higher paying
jobs that would help them move out of poverty, it would be contrary to the capitalist drive for the
accumulation of wealth (2013). In other words, businesses would not see as much profit if
workers were better remunerated. As such, workers, whether they are considered qualified or not
qualified, will have to turn towards these jobs if they are to find a way to survive.
To top it off, survival will not be easy to achieve even a job is secured. The jobs that
Ehrenreich describes, though they are frequently depicted as being the epitome of easy labor, are
abhorrently grueling. The workers – Ehrenreich included – end up struggling with adverse health
effects because of their jobs. In her time as a waitress, her job carrying trays would cause an old
injury to flourish, causing her to “start tossing back drugstore-brand ibuprofen pills as if they

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were Vitamin C, four before each shift” (Ehrenreich, 2017). Other workers have their own health
issues with which to ...

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