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Ehrenreich uses crude expressions in "Serving in Florida." Are they appropriate?An...

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omarhashani94 | Honors

Posted November 19, 2011 at 10:23 PM via web

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Ehrenreich uses crude expressions in "Serving in Florida." Are they appropriate?

An example to be used is how BJ's nickname is "The Bitch." What is her intended effect in shifting to diction that is not only informal but, some would say, crass

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stolperia | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted November 20, 2011 at 10:11 AM (Answer #1)

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Ehrenreich is portraying the truth of the situations and people she encountered during her time in Florida. She met and worked with and for people who were not nice - not to her, not to other employees, not to customers. Most of her employers did not have the education level Ehrenreich herself has, although she could not make this difference known during her time as one of the servers at the Hearthside or at Jerry's. The differences in background experience and training, however, quickly become some of the factors Ehrenreich identifies as explaining some of the reasons for the difficulties the working poor face in attempting to improve their economic situation.

something new-something loathsome and servile-had infected me, along with the kitchen odors that I could still sniff on my bra when I finally undressed at night. In real life I am moderately brave, but plenty of brave people shed their courage in POW camps, and maybe something similar goes on in the infinitely more congenial milieu of the low-wage American workplace.

The informal diction and occasionally crass language of the people she meets reflects their background life situation and their feelings about it. The language is part of the reality of the situations she wanted to portray in her book and, as a result, is both appropriate and necessary.

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