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Workplace Themes in Poetry

1. What workplace themes do you find most often appearing in poetry, as evidenced by the assigned course readings? Why?

2. Use specific examples from at least two poems from the assigned textbook reading to support your answer to the following question: Can literature save us from some of the more deadly features of everyday work life?

3. Pick a poem and describe why you think certain words were chosen as descriptors. You can also discuss the sound, meaning, and connotation of these words, both individually and in relationship to the poem.


Solution Preview

1). The theme of working or a job title being a major part of one's identity is a theme prevalent throughout much of poetry. Individuals are defined by their struggle in getting a job, maintaining a job, losing a job, the type of work they do, and their motivation in having a certain job. For example, in "Factory Jungle," a man is identified by his insecurity and unease at working in the factory; he considers it a jungle, and he therefore wants to become like a "Tarzan" who conquers and essentially escapes the jungle. In "5000 Apply for 100 jobs," the speaker demonstrates his unhappiness with not getting this new job, but he distinguishes himself by IDENTIFYING that at least he has a job. The "Old Men Working Concrete" derive satisfaction from their job, and the black people in "Share-Croppers" are identified and defined by their land-owners BY their occupation, not from any sense of individuality. Other themes could include PRIDE (of working for a day's wages and for a job well-done--> "Old Men Working Concrete" & "5000 Apply for 100 jobs) and ...

Solution Summary

Examples are given of workplace themes in poetry.