Posted: November 29th, 2013
Factory Work is a poem by Deborah Boe and she wrote it in 1996. The poem depicts reality from different aspects. The author of the poem shows that poetry can be used to express daily experiences in the lives of people. The things viewed as monotonous and boring can be useful in writing poetry. For instance, the persona narrates how the factory job is dull and not interesting but the poet has used it to write an interesting poem. The poem talks about the activities of a factory worker and some of the experiences found there. The words are flowing naturally and it creates a sense of consciousness. The poem does not directly identify the persona but some lines suggest the gender. For instance, in line 11 it states, “If I hit my boyfriend now”. This is an indication the persona is a young female. The young female belongs to the working class. This is confirmed by her poor command of English. She says “…and the lamp broke, like someone was trying to communicate to me, and he just dead this week” (line 26-28). From her description, she suggests low class job characterized with poor working conditions. The poem does not suggest any ethnicity from its tone. The persona is likely to be a white female and unhappy about her job (Mohring, 2009).
Reading this poem made me identify with the persona’s experiences. I once had a job, which I felt was below my qualification. I had finished college and I was searching for formal employment. Unfortunately, the only available jobs paid poor salaries. Nevertheless, I had to get one since I needed money. It involved selling services to different profiles of clients. They came to the job premises and I served them according to their needs. It was a hard task to serve them. Some of them were unreasonable and they maltreated me. They made me feel humiliated and I did not belong in that job. It felt worse when I thought I deserved a better job because I passed well in college. I went through a difficult time trying to adjust to the unfriendly working conditions. I got used to the situation because I have a sociable personality.
Despite the challenges in my workplace, I did my best and tried to be keener with my clients. The ones who frequently came back noticed my efforts and appreciated the care. More customers became friendly and they introduced their friends to our business. It increased our customer base as well as our profits. My employer always did performance appraisal of the employees. I was ranked the best customer attendant. I related my success with the lines of the poem stating, “Last week they ran a contest to see which shankers shanked fastest. I am not embarrassed to say I beat them all. It is all in economy of motion, all the moves on automatic. I almost do not need to look at what I am doing” (Line 34-42).
I have learnt to appreciate my job as I look forward to getting a better. It entails many life skills for me to learn. Factory work poem tries to tell audience they should value the experiences they get in life. They should take the important lessons from these experiences and apply them later in life. It also addresses people who discriminate jobs. People should accept the available jobs as they wait to get better ones. Boe intended to address the matter of poor working condition too. In her poem, she says her t-shirt was tore by the machine and a work mate’s hair was cut by the machine. Factories’ management should ensure all employees handling machinery have protective clothing and they are safe (Mohring, 2009).
Mohring, R. (2009). Factory work. Retrieved from: http://workingclasspoems.blogspot.com/2009/08/factory-work.html
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