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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 429

A couple minutes, and your whole life changes, that's it. It's gone. Every day I think about what if I hadn't . . . you know . . . I run it and run it, a tape over and over again. What if. What if. What if.

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This quote is from the first scene in 2008. Chris is speaking with his parole officer. We don't know what happened, and, by Chris not specifically mentioning what "it" is, Nottage is able to build suspense. Throughout the course of the play, we will learn about the escalating conflict that leads to the violent attack Chris is involved in. This quote establishes that Chris feels guilt—so although we don't yet know what he is jailed for, we start to build sympathy for him.

Cynthia: Why the hell not? I've got twenty-four years on the floor.

Tracey: Well, I got you beat by two. Started in '74, walked in straight outta high school. First and only job. Management is for them. Not for us.

Cynthia: More money. More heat. More vacation. Less work. That's all I need to know.

In 2000, Cynthia and Tracey discuss a newly opened management position, and the rumor is they will promote a worker off the floor. This will start the rift between these best friends. We understand Cynthia's hopefulness and motivation for applying, and see why Tracey (who has been working there two years longer) would feel jealous that Cynthia gets the job over her.

This quote is also important for us to see the class divide between floor workers and management. Despite Tracey's many years and family history at the plant, she still sees management as a separate, unattainable level.

Olsteads...

(The entire section contains 429 words.)

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