Working People in America Society Research Proposal

Pages: 4 (1433 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 2  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Literature

Working People

The Plight of the Working Person in American Short Story

Each culture's literary repertoire reflects, in some way references that culture's priorities and values. In the United States, the hard working American is an important value, one that has been the subject of much great American literature. Working people in literature are characterized in many ways. Some, like the heroes of Herman Melville's ships, are young men who want to grasp the American dream and sail off into independence and freedom. Others, like John Steinbeck's migrant workers are forced to dwell in their current conditions because of a need to survive. Still others cannot be described as easily. These characters, like Abner Snopes in Faulkner's "Barn Burning" and Krebs in Ernest Hemingway's "A Soldier's Home," suggest different problems that working people face through their bizarre reactions to them. A discussion of the implications of both Abner's violence in "Barn Burning" and Krebs' distance in "A Soldier's Home" will allow readers to evaluate the problems that working people faced during the modernist period, as well as the problems that still exist today.Get full Download Microsoft Word File access
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Research Proposal on Working People in America Society Assignment

William Faulkner's "Barn Burning" presents the reader with Abner Snopes, a working man who has had too much of his daily toil for no glory. Frustrated by his low economic circumstances, Abner stops trying to get ahead. When his hog gets in his neighbors' corn, he does nothing about it, even when the neighbor gives him enough material to patch his own faulty fence. In addition, his frustration with his economic condition leads not only to his laziness, but also to his violence. Abner seeks to destroy the material possessions, and possibly even the lives, of those who are in a better socioeconomic status then he is. Thus, he allows his hog to get their corn, ruins their rugs, and even burns their barns. The fact that Abner's frustration is aimed at those who condemn him to a low class while they relax in a wealthy class becomes clear even through his unfinished sentence at his trial. When told to get out of town, Abner states, "I aim to. I don't figure to stay in a country among people who…" (Faulkner). While Faulkner remarks that the remark following this muttering was "unprintable and vile," he is cut off by the judge, another example of how wealth and higher socioeconomic status result hold power over Abner, the working man (Faulkner). At the end of the story, when Abner is shot after executing revenge by burning his second barn, the reader learns that he was never an honest man, serving as a mercenary in the war (Faulkner). This information only confirms the fact that his situation was inherent, not necessarily earned. Always a poor, low class worker, Abner has been forced into the business of doing low, dirty work for quite some time.

Like Abner, Ernest Hemingway's Krebs in "A Soldier's Home" has difficulty adjusting to the circumstances and perceived normalcy in his environment. Coming home from the war, Krebs has a difficult time adjusting to his home life after his last job as a soldier. He came home "much too late" and was not acknowledged as a hero (Hemingway). Despondent because "no one wanted to hear about [the war]," Krebs is viewed as lazy or odd. This can be seen by Krebs' mother's conversation with him at the dinner table. She pesters him about what occupation he would like to pursue next, suggesting that "God has some work for every one to do" (Hemingway). Worried about her son for saying that he was not in God's Kingdom and refusing to think too seriously about finding work, Krebs' mother becomes agitated and promises her that he loves her after denying it. Still, at the end of the story, Krebs refuses to go to his father's office, which would have suggested his acquiescence to finding a new job. Thus, Hemingway's story is similar to Faulkner's in that it presents a man who is an outcast of society because of a previous work relationship. Abner is an outcast because of his low and unbeatable socioeconomic status, while Krebs is judged by his previous employment as a solider. In both stories, having some sort of gainful and respected employment is seen as valuable to society, so valuable that… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Working People in America Society" Research Proposal in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Working People in America Society.  (2009, March 31).  Retrieved January 26, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Working People in America Society."  31 March 2009.  Web.  26 January 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Working People in America Society."  March 31, 2009.  Accessed January 26, 2021.