It is a part of The Kitchen by Arnold Wesker. The paragraph this sentence is used in is the following:

Michael. Quite right...who'd want to kill me? Young man in his teens, all the world in front of him. Look at it... a lovely sight, isn't it ? Isn't she beautiful ? A bloody great mass of iron and we work it — praise be to God for man's endeavour — what's on the menu today ? I don't know why I bother — it's always the same.

Does he mean kitchen utensils by "great mass of iron"? Does "we work it" mean "we work with these"? Like they figure it out? How about "man's endeavour"? Does he refer to their hardwork in the kitchen?

  • Wouldn't the oven or the stove be a much more likely reference? Kitchen utensils are not a "bloody great mass" of anything. Aug 14 '20 at 13:58
  • the bigger problem is "and we work it" part. Aug 14 '20 at 14:01
  • work can mean operate. Lexico has definition 2.2: "(of a machine or system) operate or function, especially properly or effectively." Aug 14 '20 at 14:05
  • I guess I have a better image of it now. Thanks. Aug 14 '20 at 14:06
  • "bloody great mass" means something very large or a huge quantity, so it wouldn't be small things like utensils.
    – Barmar
    Aug 16 '20 at 5:54

He means the kitchen itself (as a whole). The kitchen happens to have seven ovens, probably other large metal furniture, and maybe a lot of pans hanging about.

The people all work in that kitchen, and that they work the kitchen means that they operate it.

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