Jeff Henderson’s memoir Cooked: My Journey from the Streets to the Stove describes a person’s struggle to climb the social ladder after the release from prison. To some degree, the book demonstrates that the author’s life after the release proved to be even more excruciating than in prison. In particular, he had to encounter such challenges as lack of trust and racial discrimination which undermined many of his efforts.
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On the whole, Jeff Henderson had to cope with various difficulties which made his life very frustrating. In particular, many employers had a very prejudiced attitude toward people who were sentenced for an offence. This conviction made them almost ineligible for any kind of job. This problem is familiar to many people who were sentenced to prison (Voorhis 72).
This is why Jeff Henderson emphasizes the importance of gaining the trust of managers (Henderson 43). The main issue is that an individual abhors the idea of being at the mercy of others. To a great extent, these attitudes of others demonstrated to him that his criminal record would be as a constant barrier for him. This is one of the problems that the author is forced to encounter.
Apart from that, one should not overlook the problem of racism. Many of the managers expected Jeff Henderson to deceive them. This is one of the most widespread racial stereotypes (King 7). This is one of the reasons they were reluctant to deal with him. The author describes their attitudes in the following way, “They had probably never seen anything like me: a black man who could really cook. I think they were expecting some hack” (Henderson 11).
The narrator had to prove that his skills had outweighed the suspicions and concerns of employers. Moreover, other workers did not have to face these challenges, especially if they were white. This is one of the points that should be considered.
These examples show that Jeff Henderson had to cope with significant difficulties after his release from prison. Much attention should be paid to the prejudiced attitudes of many people focused on Henderson’s criminal record or race, but his skills. This attitude of people can be very frustrating for an individual. These are the main aspects that should be taken into account.
Henderson, Jeff. Cooked: My Journey From the Streets to the Stove, New York: Harper Collins, 2007. Print.
King, Lovalerie. Race, Theft, and Ethics: Property Matters in African American Literature, Boston: LSU Press, 2007. Print.
Voorhis, Patricia. Psychological Classification of the Adult Male Prison Inmate. New York: SUNY Press, 1994. Print.