Rivethead: Tales from the Assembly Line Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. "I'm thinking that rock stars, even dead ones, don't come cheap" (pg xix). In the context of the Prologue, what does this quote mean?

Hamper ends the Prologue by saying "I'm thinking that rock stars, even dead ones, don't come cheap" (pg xix). This might refer simply to money, since Hamper refers to the financial mindset of the management. However, a closer reading shows that he is actually talking about the mindset of the men who work in the factory and listen to the dead rock stars. The factory men just want the shift to be over so they can begin drinking in earnest. The corporate men want the cars to sell while they keep up a facade of happiness within the factory. The price is then very high: the years of people's lives, livelihoods, and happiness. In this way, the dead rock stars come at a price much higher than the number on the utility bill.

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