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Analysis Of Nickel And Dimed: On (Not) Getting By In America By Barbara Ehrenreich

2905 words - 12 pages

1.) Rhetorical Analysis – pages 1 – 19 (Introduction and part of Chapter 1)
Barbara Ehrenreich’s use of logos in order to gain the reader’s support and approval was prevalent throughout this section. She clearly outlines her credibility and aptitude in the introduction of her novel - she mentions her education as well as statistical facts about hourly wages in the United States and how they will relate to her experiment. She points out her “…PhD in biology, (which she) didn’t get by sitting at a desk and fiddling with numbers” and how “According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, in 1998 it took an hourly wage of $8.89 to afford a one-bedroom apartment…the odds against a typical welfare recipient’s landing a job at such a ‘living wage’ were about 97 to 1.”
Through this, the reader understands that the author has an advanced amount of knowledge on the subject she will be covering throughout the novel. Feeling as if there will be no need to question her findings or conclusions (due to her vast educational background and the research she put in), the audience is much more susceptible and therefore predisposed to Ehrenreich’s arguments, making it easier for her to make her case.
Barbara also uses a heavy hand with the allusions in this section – “The whole thing would be a lot easier if I could just skate through it like Lily Tomlin in one of her waitressing skits, but I was raised by the absurd Booker T. Washingtonian precept that says: If you’re going to do something, do it well.” She tries to establish an emotional connection with the reader – it might have worked on me if I knew who Lily Tomlin was, though understandably she wrote this novel for a different age set – that explains a part of her good character. She shows the reader that she was raised to do her best at everything, and thus conveys a sense of integrity and determination that the reader takes in good faith.
2.) Argument – pages 20 – 43 (rest of Chapter 1)
In her first waitressing job at Heathman’s, Barbara discovers the hardships that workers in the restaurant business face when it comes to being able to afford housing. She did not have to endure half of the problems her co-workers went through, because when she began the experiment, she gave herself a nice, cushiony $1,300 for start-up costs (for the first month’s security deposit, rent, grocery, and gas). She found that most people are unable to get by on the income they are granted from their non-management positions, without making several sacrifices along the way. They live paycheck-to-paycheck, and are incapable of saving any money for security deposits to afford an apartment, since clearly people that start out working as waitresses or cooks do not have $500 lying around. It is easier for them to dish out the cash nightly and stay at a motel, and they end up wasting a lot of their hard-earned money that way. If they have no health insurance, they end up with significant and costly health problems. If they have no...

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