The Restaurant Business By Louise Erdrich Summary

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Many people wish for jobs that do not take over their entire life. They dream of being able to leave the struggles they face in the workplace and come home to a complete sense of freedom. However, many people find that this is an unattainable goal. In “The Lady in the Pink Mustang” by Louise Erdrich, “The Secretary Chant” by Marge Piercy, and “The Restaurant Business” by James Tate, there are characters who have lost their identity because of their jobs. Louise Erdrich's poem, “The Lady in the Pink Mustang,” conveys the loss of self worth and identity felt by a prostitute. In lines 1 and 2, it is said that “The sun goes down for hours, taking more of her along / than the night leaves her with” (Erdrich 150). This shows that the prostitute feels as if the darkness of night chips away at her personality until she can no longer recognize herself.…show more content…
Throughout the entire poem, there are relationships drawn between parts of the speaker's body and office supplies. In lines 8 and 9, the speaker states that “My head is a badly organized file. / My head is a switchboard” (Piercy 151). This implies that the speaker constantly has thoughts running through her head that often get confused. Her job makes her head so cloudy and disorganized that she cannot have even one clear thought. Additionally, in line 15, the speaker laments that “My navel is a reject button” (Piercy 151). Contrary to the traditional image of a navel being the place where life is given to a child, the speaker feels as if she is constantly being rejected. The most important representation of the loss of identity in “The Secretary Chant,” however, is in lines 21-24 that proclaim “File me under W / because I wonce / was / a woman” (Piercy 151). This excerpt clearly states that she no longer feels like a woman and has been taken over by her
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