“Friday Night at Iowa 80” is a strong example of ethnographic research and writing. The author researches by observing and participating in the space he will write about.
1. What are some examples of the primary research Rick Zollo includes in this essay?
Some of the primary research examples include the interviews with the employees of Lowa 80 and the truck drivers present over there.
- Interview with Gordy, Morris, Ronald, Cal & Dan
- Interview with Sally & Moreen (Workers at the Truckstop).
- Observing the overall environment and culture of the truck shop and the facial expressions of the truck drivers.
2. What are some examples of the secondary research he includes in the essay?
Some of the secondary research examples used in this essay are:
- The Professional Stranger: An Informal Introduction to Ethnography
- The Interpretations of Cultures
- The Strip: An American Place
- Trucker: Portrait of the Last American Cowboy
3. Do you think Rick Zollo is an outsider or an insider in the community he is writing about? Explain your answer.
As stated in the essay, Zollo is compelled to remember that he is an outsider at the truck stop community. Though, he presents first-hand primary research on the truckers’ community. Rick Zollo’s research study reflects his observations as an outsider of the community.
4. Pick one of the people Zollo interviews for his essay and describe that person here. Is this person helpful for Zollo’s essay? Is this person suspicious of Zollo?
The Interview with Dan
Dan is a 30-year-old truck driver with well-defined physical features. Dan is suspicious of Zollo in the beginning but gets comfortable with him later on. Dan is quite aggressive and angry towards the management of the truck driving business. He presents his lamentation towards his management and the newly made laws. He openly speaks against the demerits of his management. His interview provides a new perspective to Zollo’s research. Zollo gets to know the challenges faced by the truck drivers through Dan’s interview.
5. Choose two passages from the reading that provide vivid descriptions of “Friday Night at Iowa 80.” These can be descriptions of people, places, or things.
- The following description is about a hole in a fuel storage container.
“A huge hole occupied what had most recently been the south-side front parking lot. The hole was filled with a bright blue fuel tank roughly 40 by 60 feet in size and topped by five large green plastic spirals.”
- This vivid comparison is between the physical features of two drivers given by Zollo.
“The driver’s name was Morris, and he wasn’t sure he wanted to talk to me. Like Gordy, he was middle-aged and grizzled, but where Gordy’s three-day growth-covered handsome features, Morris was a buzzard with a hawk nose, a pointy chin, and a leather motorcycle cap pulled low over his forehead.”
6. What do you feel is the purpose of descriptive writing in Zollo’s essay? What is the purpose of description in ethnography overall?
Zollo’s essay provides circumstantial details about the atmosphere of the Lowa 80 truck stop. The purpose of his descriptive writing is to provide a detailed picture of the truck drivers’ community and their culture. He provides a descriptive picture in order to grab the maximum attention of the reader. In the field of ethnographic studies, the descriptive narration provides insight into the truck-stopping culture.