As you grab that head of lettuce from your local grocery store, you might have thought
about the farmer who picked that particular head of lettuce; however, I am sure you never thought
if it were difficult. the Author of “ A Gringo in the Lettuce Fields,” Gabriel Thompson not only
writes about his undercover observance of the strenuous and intensive labor of a specific latino
community, but also physically participates in the fieldwork that this community is involved with
in Yuma Arizona. In Thompson’s article he achieves a strong awareness while immersed with the
community and their work, which leads Thompson to understand their struggle between american
acceptance and the overall merciless labor. I can agree to my capacity of understanding, that these
farmworkers are under difficult circumstances, and aside from their work they have to deal with
immigration that is ever ready to escort them away from their jobs.
Thompson begins by describing his physical state within the first three days of working in
the lettuce fields, including a mentioned five day rule by a farmworker known as Manuel.
”I stand up gingerly. It’s only my third day in the fields, but already my 30-year-old body is
failing me. I feel like someone has dropped a log on my back and then piled that log onto another
truck with many logs, and driven that truck over my thighs” (Thompson 81).Manuel goes on to
tell Thompson about the five day rule that is simply put by Manuel as “ Survive the first five days
and you’ll be fine” (Thompson 81). To think, if this is an actual rule that newcomers must take to
mind before they begin to work the lettuce fields, than you can already determine the level of
difficulty not only Thompson is involved with but also the community of farmworkers employed
in those fields.
There is an abundance of leafy greens produced in Yuma Arizona, but not enough
farmworkers to help harvest them. Most americans are not willing to take up the work however,
the latinos located across the border are more than happy to step into this labor, yet immigration
continues to discourage these willing people:
Arizona’s own Senator John McCain created a stir in 2006 when he issued a
challenge to a group of union members in Washington D.C “ I’ll offer anybody
here $50 an hour if you’ll go pick lettuce in Yuma this season, and pick for the
the whole season,” he said. Amid jeers, he didn’t back down, telling the audience,
“ You can’t do it, my friends.” (Thompson 82)
Clearly it is not only correct to give a dignifying individual a position of labor that is in desperate
need of occupation, but also worthwhile for the land and community who need people to harvest
their farms so they can meet the simple daily life essentials, conveniently located at your local
As the workday continues, Thompson realizes a farmworkers job of harvesting is not as ...