Short Story Writing: Qualitative Inquiry Essay


Discuss about the Short Story Writing for Qualitative Inquiry.


Short story on as a white slave in the New York City

As usual in the early morning, I have just started out not with the individuals who are in the search of enjoyment or to get entertained, but with the people who work for the whole day long for making their livelihood. Almost all age group people have been rushing in which girls of all age groups were there and there were the appearance and the hurrying of all the men and with whom I have gone along and combined with them as one in the crowd. Firstly, I use to wonder often at the stories of the poor payment and the type of cruel treatment that the working girls are going through (Giddings, 1985). For knowing the actual truth, there was only one way and I had the determination of trying it. So I myself have become the sales girl in the paper box factory. As per that I started to search for the work without having any kind of experience, or referrals or assistance (Berzon, 1978).

The search for the job was really turned out to be tiresome at the least. The encounters were very discouraging and at the most infuriating. I have visited numerous factories that are located in and around the places of Bleecker and Grand Streets and the Sixth Avenue. At these places, the number of workers was found to be in the hundreds. The foremost question at the workplace that is posed by everyone is that do you have any experience on how to carry out the work. When the reply given by me was no I don’t know how to do the work no further attention was paid by them to me.

I urged stating, that “I’m ready to work with no payment until the time I get to learn the complete work”.

“One of them stated that why would you work nothing! Why, if you had paid us for coming then we will not have you in the way of ours” (March-Russell, 2016).

The other answer was that “an establishment is not run here for training the women in their job skills”. This kind of response was received for me please to the work.

“Well, nobody is born with their own knowledge of work, so how can anybody learn without training?” I asked (Burrows & Wallace, 1998).

They said that, the girls will anyways have some of the friends who want to learn. “If at all if she is wishing to lose her time and money by taking training classes for her, then we don’t have any kind of objection, because for us to get the work done the beginners will not do anything”.

But without any influence, it is not easy to get the entry into the bigger factories; so at last, I limited to give a try to the smaller ones at Elm Street No.196. It is because at the various other factories I have met the quite differently mean and the rough persons, but the man in this place was very polite. “If you have not done this kind of work, then I don’t think that you will like this work”, he said. “It is a very murky work and a girl should spend many years at this work before she can make a good amount of money. The beginners in our place are girls of 16 years of age and they won’t get paid for even two weeks after they join here”.

“What amount they can make later?”

“The week work is sometimes started for them with the payment of dollars 1.0 per week. When they completely become capable, they will opt for the part-time work for which they will be paid in hundreds”.

“I asked how much money is earned by them? “

“A competent worker will be earning from the range of $ 5 to $ 9 per week”.

“How many girls are working here?”

“In the workplace, there are around 60 in number and some of them take the work to their home. It has been only a few months that I have come into this business said by that person, but if you think you are capable enough to give a try I will speak to my companion. He even had the few girls of 11 years of age. You can have the seat till I find him” (Harris, 2017).

He went outside to the office soon I have heard him talking about me to his partner outside, and rather he was pointing a view of giving a chance to me. Soon he returned to me with a short man who had the German accent. Without speaking anything he stood beside me, so I had to repeat my request to him. He then said, “Well, at the desk you can give your name to the gentleman and return back on Monday morning, and then let’s see what we can do for you” (Culp, 1992).

So the day has come and I started to the place in the early morning. I had worn a calico dress so that it will be suiting for the trade that is chosen by me and to work comfortably. A bundle was nicely packed covering it with the brown paper by keeping a dark spot on its center was my lunch. Every working girl used to carry the lunch as per my idea and in doing so I was trying hard to show up the impression as if I’m very much used to such things. Certainly, I measured the lunch as the reflection of my thoughts on my new role and judged it with some pride, upon which it was mixed with the feeling of disappointment as the grease spot in the center was increasing in size gradually.

As it was the timing I could notice all the girls were at work. I entered the office through the small wagon yard, which was the only entrance for the office. After giving many of my excuses to the person at the desk, he called one of the girls who was pretty and had the apron which was full of pasteboard and stated:

“Can you take this girl to Norah?”

“The girl asked whether I was to work on boxes or the profusions.”

“Inform Norah to put this girl on boxes.” (Bates, 1972)

I had followed my guide where I had to climb the darkest, most perpendicular, and the narrow staircase which I considered to be my bad luck to see all these. We were going on and on by passing through the small rooms which are totally filled with the young working girls till the last floor that is it was around the 4th or 5th floor where I had reached (Davis, 2006). By the time I reached there I was breathless.

“The pretty little guide informed Norah” that this lady is to be put on boxes (Gu, 2017).

All the girls who were working there by surrounding the long tables had instantly turned out towards me curiously. The girl Norah, who was in the boxes was with auburn hairstyle has turned towards me and replied:

“Look, if the gateway is down, and then show to her where the clothes are to be kept.”

Then the women out there gave an order to one of the girls to “get a stool for her,” and she has sat down in front of the table, upon which there was a bundle of pasteboard squares were kept which was labeled in the middle. Some long slips of the paper were spread on the table by Norah (White, 2012). Then a scrub brush was taken by her, which she dipped into the bucket consisting of paste and then dapped it onto the paper. Then one of the square boards of paper was taken by her and placed upon it by rubbing her thumb at the edges. Then one of the paper slip was taken by her and quickly kept it neatly over the corner with which she has bonded them together by holding them at one place. The extra paper which was hanging from the box was cut by her from all the corners. This at the end turned out to be a box lid. It looked like an easy process and in some time I was in a position to make one of such kind (Hanson, 2015).

I did not find any difficulty in learning the work, but was rather displeasing. It is because the room was not properly ventilated and the stickiness of the paste and the glue all over the place was quite unpleasant (Young, 2015). Except for the girl who sat beside me, I was not in a position to see any other girl as it was not possible to have the conversation because of the piles of the boxes all over the table. A girl named Therese sat beside me. At first, she felt shy but as I went on asking questions she started getting comfortable and became more communicative (Streeby, 2002).

I introduced myself saying that I stay with my parents on Eldrige Street and mother is sick most of the time and my father is a musician, but he will not play it on the streets but occasionally gets an assignment. My sister works in the passementerie where she earns up to 3 dollars to 5 dollars per week. Another sister of mine was doing the spooling of silk from five years on Twenty-Third Street. She earns 6 dollars per week. As she reaches home by night all her hair, face and hands will be colored with silk as she will be working with that all day long. This will make her sick so she will be taking medicine all the time (Shaw, 2014).

“Have you ever worked previously?”

“I answered yes, as I used to work on Spring Street as passementerie. I used to work from 7 in the morning till 6 in the evening and use to earn 3.50 dollars per week. I had to leave due to the unkindness of the bosses and the major problem was there were only 3 small oil lamps at the workplace. The rooms used to be very dark, but they did not allow us to light the gas anytime. The women at the place used to come and take the work to home to do.

I asked surprisingly, “What else did you do after you left from there?”

Later I used to go to work on the Canal Street in Fringe factory. A woman used to run it and she was very unkind to all the girls and she does not know English. For a whole week she used to pay in between 8 to 6 dollars by giving only half an hour for dinner and at the end, she paid only 35 cents to me. Don’t you know that how can a girl live with just 35 cents per week, so I had to leave”? (Soderlund, 2002).

Then I asked how the box factory is?

“Well, here the bosses appear to be kind. They wish me every morning, which I have never noticed at any working place and the good thing is that they have given a poor girl a good deal to work for two weeks for nothing. It has almost been two weeks I’m working here and a great deal of work was done by me. The bosses have gained from my work. They even say that they will take off the girl after two weeks of her work by saying that she does not suit for the work. Later I’m getting 1.50 dollar per week now.

From the surrounding factories the whistles will blow in the 12 noon, then we can quit from our work and have lunch (Ellis, 2000).

The girls in the workplace seem to be very happy. During the day while working they would enjoy the work by singing (Oliver & Shapiro, 2006). The song will start on the second floor probably will be reaching each and every floor as it is taken as the succession till the time all won’t sing the song. All the girls in the workplace are kind to each other. Even if they had quarrels, it would not last for a longer period of time. All were very good to me and would help me in my work to make it easy and pleasant. When I was able to make the entire box I felt very proud.


The story which I have written, the theme is all about the working girls, those will be facing various kinds of problems and how do they struggle to make their livelihood.

Coming to plot of my story, it is about a girl who would like to support her family by working and earning some money. She comes from a very poor background with a family consisting of a mother, father, and two sisters. She struggled a lot in getting a job and finally could succeed in grabbing the job at the paper box factory (McManus, 2001). All the girls who were accompanying her seem to be kind and were helping her to get the work and the workplace was made very pleasant with their active singing environment so that the stress won’t be seen in them.

What impress me about is that when she first decided to work she started her job search in the bigger factories which did not respond to her properly. (Gordon & Kuehner, 1999). Rather, they would criticize her for not knowing the work. After making many searches she had then decided to even work for no salary for some period of time till she gets the work completely. But no individual or the workplace was agreeing to that scenario. Then she was in a dilemma that nobody will be born with all the work known to them by birth (Pratt, 1981). Only if given a chance then they can achieve to do so and can develop the skills to become competent. At the end, she made a decision that she would go to the job search at small level factories.

Well up to this I have explained about long struggle and coming after this part. Here I have explained how she approached one place where she could meet a polite person, unlike at other workplaces and got all the details of the workplace and said that he can offer the work at that place after talking to my partner if she was ok with the conditions of the workplace. As it would not be that great and girls are facing difficulties were starting they can’t earn much but later on, they can make to a good amount. For reaching to that much it would take a lot of time. But in spite of that, she was happy for the job so he spoke to his partner and asked her to leave the details with the person at the desk and get back to the place on Monday (Gilfoyle, 1994).

One fine day she visited the place with a lunch box to show her dedicated interest towards the work and she was introduced to Norah by another girl in the workplace and she was given work on boxes. The work was taught to her by another woman as it was quite simple and easy to do. Then she got a very good friend named Therese, who helped her in knowing the place and the work culture and how to work easily. Later she was able to get the things, in no time and could make one entire box on her own. By this, she has achieved the goal of knowing the difficulties at workplace.

I have tried to write a story which will motivate many other girls and it’s the other way to say not to give up because life goes on.


Bates, H. E. (1972). The modern short story: a critical survey. Writer.

Berzon, J.R., (1978). Neither White Nor Black. The Mulatto Character in American Fiction. New York: New York UP, p.20.

Burrows, E.G. and Wallace, M., (1998). Gotham: a history of New York City to 1898. Oxford University Press.

Culp, J.M., (1992). Posner on Duncan Kennedy and Racial Difference: White Authority in the Legal Academy. Duke Law Journal, 41(5), pp.1095-1114.

Davis, M. (2006). City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles (New Edition). Verso Books.

Ellis, C. (2000). Creating criteria: An ethnographic short story. Qualitative Inquiry, 6(2), 273-277.

Giddings, P., (1985). When and where I enter. Bantam Books.

Gilfoyle, T.J., (1994). City of Eros: New York City, prostitution, and the commercialization of sex, 1790-1920. WW Norton & Company.

Gordon, J. B., & Kuehner, K. (1999). Fiction: the elements of the short story. National Textbook Company.

Gu, Y. (2017). Introduction: Several Aspects of Current Short Story Criticism–Influence, Gender and Genre. Fudan Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences, 10(1), 1-3.

Hanson, C. (2015). Postscript: British Women’s Short Story Writing. British Women Short Story Writers, 193.

Harris, T. (2017). The power of the short story. Access, 31(1), 4.

McManus, E.J., (2001). A history of Negro slavery in New York. Syracuse University Press.

March-Russell, P., (2016). Writing and Publishing the Short Story.

Oliver, M. L., & Shapiro, T. M. (2006). Black wealth, white wealth: A new perspective on racial inequality. Taylor & Francis.

Pratt, M. L. (1981). The short story: The long and the short of it. Poetics, 10(2-3), 175-194.

Shaw, V. (2014). The short story: a critical introduction. Routledge.

Soderlund, G., (2002). Covering urban vice: the New York Times," white slavery," and the construction of journalistic knowledge. Critical Studies in Media Communication, 19(4), pp.438-460.

Streeby, S., (2002). American sensations: class, empire, and the production of popular culture (Vol. 9). Univ of California Press.

White, S., (2012). Somewhat More Independent: The End of Slavery in New York City, 1770-1810. University of Georgia Press.

Young, E. (2015). British Women Short Story Writers. Edinburgh University Press.

How to cite this essay: