English 102 Lesson Plan Day 7
N&D 143-169 (Tuesday); 169-191 (Wednesday); 193-221 (Thursday)
Selling and Scrubbing Questions due Wednesday.
Quiz on first 150 pages of N&D, Wednesday
About the essays: It's ok to be confused at this point. It probably means you have an open mind and see multiple angles on the questions. That's a good thing. Begin, though, to see the product: a 3-5 page paper on the topic. What is probably means is you should NARROW your topic/thesis to a single main point.
This won't happen by wishing for it. Prewrite. Freewrite. Start writing down practice thesis statements. Do some more reading. Ask each other questions. Go to the writing center. See me.
Shoot for Friday for a tentative thesis statement. That will give you the weekend to do some research, plus Monday and Tuesday to get a rough draft together.
All along the way, in any class, you should be thinking about an angle on an essay. What interests you about the topic? Where are there disagreements with what is written? What IDEAS do you want to defend or refute or change or suggest?
Also, a few notes—I'd like to have full conversations about these in class as we go. We'll get to as many as we can.
Minimum wage debate: Define the argument clearly. Is this federal? State? City? Why not more? Why not less? Saying it's in the middle isn't a good enough reason. Find what the experts say.
YakTown: Decide who you are pretending to be. It works best if you use the same givens as Ehrenreich. You might change them if you want to make a counter argument section on kids or second income.
First, agree that there's too much in the way of the working poor to overcome on their own. (Read the evaluation chapter!) Then, explain what can be done, SPECIFICALLY, even locally, to help them overcome.
Men: Pick specific similarities in N&D'd. Ex: application process, number of jobs, types of jobs (working conditions), living conditions, physical challenges, mental challenges. The other trick is to state up front that you will be talking about GENERALITIES of gender.
Closely read where she addresses her critics. Find the holes in her logic. Help stitch it up or widen it.
Option 1: The poor are responsible for their situations. It's an individual's choice. If they don't want to be poor, they can do something about it. Option 2: The game is rigged against the poor and they don't know it. If we want to address poverty, the system needs to change.
It's the Pursuit of Happyness v. Nickel and Dimed.
Who has the right idea?
Scrubbing in Maine
- Ehrenreich writes, "The main thing I learn from the job-hunting process is that, despite all the help-wanted ads and job fairs, Portland is just another $6-$7-an-hour town. This should be as startling to economists as a burst of exotic radiation is to astronomers" (59-60). What does she mean? And why is it so?
- None of Ehrenreich's jobs in Nickel and Dimed lends her much dignity, but her position with The Maids turns out to be particularly demeaning in certain ways. She explains, "Maids, as an occupational group, are not visible, and when we are seen, we are often sorry for it"(99). In what ways are she and her co-workers at The Maids not visible? Why do you think she includes herself here, using "we" to designate those who work in this area?
- In one episode with The Maids, Ehrenreich takes up for one of her coworkers, pointing out that she need not feel such allegiance to Ted, the manager.
"What's all this worrying about Ted? He'll find someone else. He'll take anyone who can manage to show up sober at 7:30 in the morning. Sober and standing upright."
"No," Holly finally interjects. "That's not true. Not everybody can get this job. You have to pass the test."
The test? The Accutrac test? "The Test," I practically yell, "is BULLSHIT! Anyone can pass that test!" (113)
Ehrenreich sees this as a moment of solidarity with her coworker, Holly. However, the moment proves to sever what has been a good relationship between them. Why might that be the case? In what ways might Ehrenreich have been misguided in her effort to empower and support Holly?
The author gives us a pretty cynically humorous account of a visit to a tent revival in Portland, commenting that "Christ crucified rules, and it may be that the true business of modern Christianity is to crucify him again and again so that he can never get a word out of his mouth" (68-69). What is Ehrenreich saying about the roots of Christianity and the way it's practiced today? Give examples from N&D to illustrate her point.