File - Makayla Nielsen's ePortfolio

Nielsen, Makayla
Assignment 18
Standard Six
1. The author of the text is Studs Terkel. Terkel was an American author, historian, actor,
and broadcaster. Some of his other works would include: The Good War, Touch and Go,
and The Great Divide: Second Thoughts on the American Dream.
2. The text is about a steel worker and his view on his life. It discusses the work, what the
man would like to do with his life, what his hopes and dreams are for his children, and
goes over how he handles his work and life. The authors intention was clearly to open up
the world of the working class to those who are “effete snobs.”
3. The text was written in the year of 1972. Some major events going on at the time were:
the Munich Olympics terrorist attack, Nixon signed the Black Lung Benefits bill, and
Bangladesh gained independence from Pakistan.
4. The text was supposedly written in the U.S. One other great idea originating from the
U.S. at the time was the Equal Rights Amendment was passed and provided equality of
the sexes in the U.S.
5. The text is relevant to the study of modern business because it depicts the life of the
bottom laborer. There are those that live higher in the industry and those who are on the
bottom. All work for the same business, others more physically and others more
mentally, so it is not just the top people a business needs to look for, but for those who
perform the physical duties as well.
6. The text made me feel grateful for my level of education and for my ability to further my
professional potentials. My understanding of the literature was highly understandable, I
could see the workers point of view and could understand exactly what he was talking
about. My grasp of Critical Thinking has expanded into thinking not only about the
business itself, but what can we do for those who make the business run from the bottom
laborers to the top pencil pushers.
Questions 1- 12
1. Who was “Doctor Spock”? (Nothing to do with Star Trek) What does Mike mean when
he says his daughter ‘doctor spock’d’ something?
a. Doctor Spock was an American pediatrician who wrote a book about babies and
child care. He was the first pediatrician to study psychoanalysis to understand the
children’s needs and family dynamics. Later he became an activist in the anti
Vietnam War and led others into joining these movements. So when Mike says
his daughter ‘doctor spock’d’ something, he is referring to her psychoanalysis of
what she needs and possibly towards an activist like manner.
2. Why is it hard for Mike to take pride in his work?
a. It is hard for Mike to take pride in his work because he is only making the steel.
He never sees where it is going, nor does he get to be a part of the finished
product. There is no credit for his part in making the steel, and with no credit
there is no pride.
3. How is pulling steel similar to many typical jobs of the 21st century?
a. Pulling steel is similar to many jobs of the 21st century because in a sense the jobs
are a repeat of what was performed the next day. In a restaurant, the store opens,
people are served, and the store closes. In the construction industry you open,
build something, and then close. Open, run, close day in and day out as the never
ending cycle. Not only that but you don’t think about the work while working.
The mind becomes numb and in a sense the body goes into “autopilot” to
complete the task. Only when starting and when nearly finished do people
recognize how tired they are.
4. Are there any symptoms in our society that indicate workers are unfulfilled, alienated,
from the purpose of life?
a. There are some symptoms that indicate workers are unfulfilled, alienated from the
purpose of life. When a man must go out to find his own fulfillment rather than
receiving it from work or home, it is easy to say he is alienated from the purpose
of life. Rather than living and enjoying what he has, he lives in misery and that is
something that life is not meant to be.
5. What kinds of things would help or improve Mr. LeFevre’s self esteem?
a. Mr. LeFevre’s self esteem could be improved if he were given more time with his
family. He discusses how he would like a 20 hour work week to do more with his
life rather than just work, drink, and wait until next Sunday.
6. What do people resort to, when they cannot find fulfillment in work and family?
a. People will typically resort to something that will provide them with fulfillment.
Some find it in drinking alcohol, others find it in drugs, or some may find it in a
more higher standard such as art, film, or another manner.
7. Explain how untapped talent such as would-be Lord Byrons, Walt Whitmans, Roosevelts,
and Picassos might be lying undiscovered, working unfulfilled in steel mills, or factories?
a. If the individuals had more time to do what they please rather than performing the
stress and strain or the work in order to provide for their families, they would be
able to further develop their talents and be able to enjoy their lives more as well as
potentially rise to a greater potential.
8. Explain how millions of unfulfilled laborers could become the source of future Hitlers
and Stalins?
a. The unfulfilled laborers could rise up in anger and provide the Hitlers and Stalins
in a sense. Through unfulfillment and the desire to be better than the effete snobs
who run their working hours and payment, the laborers may rise up in a strike but
if one could provide an influential leader, the strikes may become greater and
more powerful so that they take on the business and the people who live in power
in order to dominate over them.
9. Why does Mike say “….. the people in power fear the leisure man”?
a. When Mike says “…the people in power fear the leisure man” it is because he
believes that those in control of the industry or business won’t let the laborer have
time for leisure because they fear that they could become the potential Hitlers and
Stalins, or that they could become greater than themselves by being the next
Roosevelt, Whitman, or the next Lord Byrons. They fear becoming the lower
status so they keep the poor man poor.
10. Look up Communism in the Glossary. What does Mike mean when he says
“Communism…. It’s the intellectual’s utopia, not mine.”
a. Because the intellectual will look at the good of the community as well as their
own personal profit. But in doing so they become blind to the needs of the
laborers and forget that they too are part of the community. So when Mike says its
not his utopia, he means: because it doesn’t look for his personal profit he has no
desire for it.
11. Besides beer, what other things do people do to escape reality? (Today in the 21st
a. Today in the 21st Century, there is not only beer for people to do to escape reality,
but drugs have also come to play a major role. Or for those who have higher
standards there are a multitude of escape routes. For one, movies. To be able to
watch a moving picture and to escape reality for those brief hours while being
enveloped into the imaginary world of another is an easy way to escape reality.
For some, the arts are a splendor of escape. Creating something as your own, or as
some like to put it “playing God”, is a wondrous way to escape reality. The list
goes on and on for escapes.
12. Why does Mike want his son to be an effete snob?
a. Mike wants his son to be an effete snob so that he doesn’t end up pulling steel or
working in a factory. So he may have all that he dreams of having rather than
living in the constant day to day misery of the same routine in the same mind
numbing manner.
10 Vocabulary
1. Muses
a. To think about something in a deep serious or dreamy and abstracted way.
2. Effete
a. Characterized by decadence, over refinement, or overindulgence.
3. Posterity
a. All future generations.
4. Wholly
a. Totally and in every way or to the fullest extent.
5. Automation
a. Replacement of human workers by technology.
6. Liberate
a. To release a person, group, population, or country from political or military
control or from severe physical constraint.
7. Bonderizer
a. A machine that will coat steel with a corrosive preventing substance.
8. Oppressed
a. To be a source of worry, stress, or trouble to somebody.
9. Pseudo
a. Not real, but pretending to be real.
10. Continuum
a. A link between two things, or a continuous series of things, that blend into each
other so gradually and seamlessly that it is impossible to say where one becomes
the next.
Works Cited
"Studs Terkel." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 25 Mar. 2013. Web. 26 Mar. 2013
"The Year 1972 From The People History." What Happened in 1972 including Pop
Culture, Prices, Events and Technology. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Mar. 2013
Terkel, Studs. "Mike LeFevre, Steel Worker." Critical Thinking, Readings from the
Literature of Business and Society. By Edward G. Engh. N.p.: n.p., n.d. 183-91. Print