The relationship between literature and the workplace environment is primarily one of human emotion and interaction. How a person feels about their work, or the issues faced within the workplace are fodder for fiction, non-fiction, and poetry alike. The majority of the working masses actually have a relatively small number of experiences. Though the work itself may be different, and the specific situations unique, the overall anxiety, fears, and concerns are generally the same. This means the audience for this type of literature is wide.
Some of the common themes that are found in the literature of work might include finding one’s vocation and pride in work. These are two of the most positive experiences, and the focus of this paper. The works we will be discussing are the short story, “My Lack of Gumption,” the essay, “Pablo Picasso: Living in his own Shadow”, and the poem, “Old Men Working Concrete.” Each of these works speaks to the pride and passion of the characters doing the work.
Literature is a form of expression that allows a greater range of feeling and emotion to be experienced than any other form. Theater must rely on body language and spoken dialect to form a picture and convey feeling. The written word allows insight into the mind, to see and feel what the individual is thinking at the time. Through this work, each person can relate the work to his or her own situation. In this way, literature is interpreted in many different ways depending on the experience and background of the reader.
Workplace literature today...
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...les; “Mary Poppins” may provide the inspiration to work with children, brining joy into their life. Young teens may find themselves drawn to Detective stories and pursuing a career in Law Enforcement.
The majority of literature has some aspect of human psychology in it. If those humans are employed, there will be an element of work that the reader can relate to and perhaps apply to their own experiences. From technical guides to the literary brilliance of “Moby Dick”, literature shapes the lives of every reader. It has a place in every environment, be it the workplace or home. Pick up a book, settle under the blanket, and curl up with the mind of the writer – you are sure to find a piece of yourself there.
LaRocco, C., & Coughlin, J. (1995). The Art of Work: An anthology of Workplace Literature (one Ed.). Columbus, OH: Glencoe/McGraw-Hill.
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