10, Baskets: Based on “Assembly Line” a Short Story by B. Traven. Front Cover. Lonnie Burstein Hewitt, Penny Bernal. McGraw-Hill, – Language Arts . Chapter Maker/Worker/Profit-Maker: B. Traven’s “Assembly Line”. Creativity is one of the basic needs and satisfactions of a good life. The ancient Greek word. In B. Traven’s short story “Assembly Line,” we encounter an Indian peasant who spends most of his time cultivating crops for himself and his.
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I love this story. It really illustrates perfectly the “cost” of work, in terms of the time taken away from other activities, from family, from friends. I also love the way the indian explains that his baskets are made with ‘song in them and with bits of my soul. In that item carries the spirit of it’s maker.
This is in contrast to the assembly line type of labor where workers add or make one small piece of the finished product where the goal is speed and efficiency. You get really good at one part of the product; but no song or soul. That was a great story and so true in the linw run. AS I have said at times, that Christmas is not as it use to be.
People are out buying gifts without it truly meaning anything. Where as when some one makes the gift wheather it be baked goods or some other household itemit’s more touching from the heart that they actulaly took the time. I know, I love this, too.
Such a difference between laboring at what we deeply enjoy and labor that is only done for money. Thanks for commenting on the post. If you read the story, it has a very “simple” feel to it. It’s not fast-paced, there’s no twists-and-turns, or shocking surprises.
So according to the conventions traben fiction, of gripping your audience with non-stop action and a riveting plotline, this story completely fails.
But I think that is actually part of its formal stance–it refuses to be consumed. It does have a different feel.
Would you say that Traven is weaving travn story in the way that the man is making his baskets? I found the whole story online at Libcom so here is a link in case anyone wants to read it.
Each basket requires painstaking labor. He dries the bast and fiber in specific ways. He finds quality plants and insects to create the richly-colored days. He then weaves stunning pictures into the basket. All this we learn assemnly the Indian after first being introduced to one Mr. Traveling through remote assfmbly of Mexico, he encounters the Indian selling his baskets and purchases a few of them to take back with him. Upon returning to New York, like a good businessman, he comes up with a profitable traveb Winthrop knows that the Indian sells one basket at the village for half of a peso, and so he thinks that for a bulk order the Indian would sell even lower.
He negotiates a steal-of-a-deal with the store—certain that the Indian would be more than trave to participate in the exchange. What a fine businessman he is, indeed. And not only is he maximizing his profits, he is even helping the Indian escape his unfortunate existence selling baskets door-to-door in the village! Winthrop returns a second time to the Mexican village to present the Indian with his business scheme: The Indian takes a night to think over the offer, and then responds with his price: Winthrop had paid for one.
How could that be, thinks the goodly astonished businessman? On the assembly line of the united capitalists, the more workers produce, the less each product costs to the capitalist. Not only this, but workers must be continually made to work more intensely and more rapidly so that as much profit as possible can be squeezed out of their working hours. Just let them suffer, and when trave are spent, when they have produced their wealth for capital, hire another! But, alas, the Indian has made his own calculations, and has reached a very different conclusion.
He patiently explains that if he were to weave ten thousand baskets, he would have no time to tend to his crops and to his land, and he sssembly have asaembly go to the village to purchase and acquire all of his needs.
This would cost money, and this money would have to come from the amount that each basket would be sold to Mr. The Indian possesses a small piece of property on which to produce what he needs, and beyond that, he can make a small income from the sale of his baskets. He sees that Mr. The grand business scheme is good only for the capitalists! Winthrop grows agitated, and continues to try to convince the Indian of his grand business plan.
Labor 2 Bear Down: “Assembly Line” Logic – Amir Hussain
He fervently counts and calculates the numbers that will make him rich—and by the logic of capital, happy. Like all good capitalists, Mr. Winthrop does not meet the Indian for his human self. Beyond that, beyond the numbers and figures that he has woven in his head, the Indian is nothing. The promise of money is the only promise he is good for—but not the promise of friendship or honesty.
10,000 baskets : based on “Assembly line” a short story by B. Traven
Such a cultured man is this Mr. If I were to make them in great numbers there would no longer be my assmbly in each, or my songs. Each would look like the other with no difference whatever and such a thing would slowly eat up my heart. Though he works hard to produce what he needs and he earns little income, his life has a spirit that he would not easily give up.
Indeed, even if he were assemb,y be paid 15 pesos for each basket, the sheer act of creating thousands of baskets would alter the meaning of the baskets for the Indian. In place of individually expressed art works, they would become traaven commodities. The workers are, after all, only for capital, defined solely by the cold terms of employment, and such conditions permit no practical or theoretical consideration to individuality.
Devoid as it is of all human consideration and empty of spirit, capital travels to all ends of the earth to extract labor for profit. In the end of their encounter, the Indian in the story escapes an unpleasant outcome, though it appears that neither the Indian nor Mr. Winthrop experience a change.
The Indian simply says goodbye and returns to his simple but demanding labor, while Mr. Winthrop presumably returns to New York to search out new ventures, never having learned what the Indian really weaves into his baskets. Yet it remains an ambivalent ending. Dreams, throbs, and poems left unsung—what do these share? The pain of not being realized. A dream is by definition a fantasy or a hope, an unsung poem is one that no one hears, and the throbs of a heart ache for some missing object.
The Indian and Mr. Winthrop are, after all, not meant to be realistic, well-rounded characters—rather they are intended to be figures from which something can be learned for our own world. And if they leave much to be desired, then that desire is ours also. Posted by bearingdown at Share to Twitter Share to Facebook. Anonymous February 15, at Anonymous February 18, at Lucy S February 18, at 9: Amir February 19, at 9: Lone Post Older Post Home.