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This paper explains that the poems "Hard Work" by Stephen Dunn and "What I Wouldn't Do" by Dorianne Laux describe work, which is menial, repetitive and boring in atmospheres that are less then ideal, experiences so common as to be nearly universal. The author relates that, in "Hard Work", which is set in a Coca Cola bottling plant in the 1950s before total automation and robots, the narrator's job is to carry empty bottles to the line; whereas, in "What I Wouldn't Do", the narrator tells of a whole string of quite different "drifter" jobs. The paper concludes that the poems present valuable information that working for awhile at a low-status jobs give a sense of what a person wants to accomplish and how to proceed or, at least, a sense of what a person does not want to do for the rest of his or her life.
From the Paper:"Later, the boy himself with a sense of anger, and emulating what he saw earlier, breaks some of the bottles deliberately, again for revenge and to impress the other men he works with. His "petty act of free will" is a way to get even for all the mindless hours spent on the line working for the riches of someone else. Coke, after all, is the quintessential American product. The Company reaps billions of dollars a year in profits, selling Coke in every country in the world, while the workers suffer hours on end of boredom, low pay, and a body that "hurt with that righteous hurt men have brought home for centuries." The term righteous hurt implies that "hard" work is supposed to be noble, a myth the narrator's father seems to have internalized but the narrator rejects."
Cite this Book Review:
Work Poems (2006, September 13) Retrieved March 30, 2020, from https://www.academon.com/book-review/work-poems-68827/
"Work Poems" 13 September 2006. Web. 30 March. 2020. <https://www.academon.com/book-review/work-poems-68827/>