What sort of people run the Filling Station in "The Filling Station" by Elizabeth Bishop?

Expert Answers
litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The people who run the filling station do not seem to care much about attention to detail.  They work hard, but they are salt-of-the-earth types.   This is a family ruled by work.

The speaker notes that “it's a family filling station” and describes the family members by their roles.

Father seems resigned and accepting to the harshness of his life, and he allows his sons to be disrespectful, since they are described as “saucy” here.

Father wears a dirty,
oil-soaked monkey suit
that cuts him under the arms,
and several quick and saucy
and greasy sons assist him

The family seems to live at the station, and there is a wicker sofa on the porch where a dirty dog sleeps comfortably. Elements of domesticity seem to be out of place, like the doily. There seems to be no mention of the mother of the family, other than the “somebody” who is mentioned as having watered the plants and embroidered the doily.  She loves them though.