“Looking for Work” (Gary Soto) Questions
1.) The narrator compares his family to the family in the TV show “Father Knows Best.” Here is a description of the show: “It's telling that this family favorite began on radio as Father Knows Best? When the show came to CBS in 1954, the question mark disappeared. Contrary to popular opinion, however, Springfield, Ohio, insurance agent Jim Anderson (Emmy winner Robert Young) doesn't have all the answers. He and his wife, Margaret (fellow Emmy winner Jane Wyatt), come close, though. Were the show in production now, Anderson wouldn't smoke, but Father Knows Best reflects the standards of its time--separate beds and all. The sweet-natured pilot sets the tone when 14-year-old Bud (Billy Gray) frets about the school dance until Jim arranges for his 17-year-old sister, Betty (Elinor Donahue), to show him some steps. Other storylines revolve around community service and feeling needed, while "Thanksgiving Day" offers a glimpse of Jim's imperfect side when he dismisses a poem written by nine-year-old Kathy (Laurin Chapin), who overhears him; he realizes he was holding Kitten to impossible standards. As Chapin notes in the bonus interview (in which Donahue also features), the primary themes were cooperation and forgiveness. Naysayers can knock Father Knows Best for being square, but it espouses timeless values. And who's to say the lingo wasn't hip for the 1950s? Colorful examples include "goobers," "criminy," "creepers," "knot-head," and "simply utterly” (www.amazon.com).
How does this show (based on the description) seem different from the narrator’s own family? Why do you think he wants his family to be like this one?
2.) Describe the setting of this story:
3.) What do you think the author meant from this line: “I had a nine-year-old’s vision of wealth that would save us from ourselves”? Why did the narrator think his family needed “saving”?
4.) How does the narrator’s dinner contrast with the dinner on the TV...