Caitlyn made a good observation about how the prevalence of elevators accentuates racial issues in the novel. The elevators rise quickly, but the status of colored people is taking the stairs. Or maybe even the fire escape. Lila Mae is one of two colored elevator inspectors for the biggest and most prominent city in the country. And one of few women, from what I’ve gathered, if there are others.
In class on Tuesday Vanessa mentioned the glass ceiling/glass escalator (or elevator) theory in workplace equality between men and women. The glass ceiling is the point where women stop advancing in their careers, but men continue. In a male dominated workplace, men advance quicker and further than women almost all of the time.
The glass escalator/elevator refers to the differences in pay for men in women dominated professions. Men somehow still advance fasted and further in these fields than women. I claim that these same theories can also be applied to race. A colored man typically makes less money and advances slower than a white man doing the same job in both white and color dominated fields. Elevator inspecting is an “old boys club” type of job. It’s predominantly made up of older white men. Judging by the fact that were only 12 colored elevator inspectors when Lila Mae was in school, and even less employed as such, this appears to be a hard field for colored people to even start, let alone advance their careers.
I also see elevators as Lila Mae’s golden ticket to break through that glass ceiling, both as a woman and as a colored person. By being the first female colored elevator inspector, she has already started to crack it. Elevators are her key to a better life.