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How Barbara Ehrenreich Makes Ends Meet

1039 words - 5 pages

In her inspiring nonfiction novel, Nickel and Dimed, Barbara Ehrenreich captivates readers as she researches whether or not if single parents, who depend exclusively on what they can make at minimum-wage income, can endure financially in the United States. She chooses to go as an “undercover” journalist to discover, first-hand, if one can survive in some of the most prominent, urban areas in America. In the first city, Key West, Ehrenreich works at two separate restaurants and as a house manager in a lodge. She soon finds that being a waitress is a tedious job, filled with aching pains and low amounts of sleep. Next, Ehrenreich moves to Maine, the state of the practically all-white low-wage workforce. Ehrenreich discovers that, even though Maine has more jobs available, the wages paid are similar to those of Key West. The last place Ehrenreich stays is Minnesota, where she finds the most trouble finding housing accommodations. In Minnesota, Ehrenreich uncovers the toiling process of job application that she had not taken into consideration. Lastly, Ehrenreich evaluates her overall experience among the minimum-wage worker’s class. She concludes that the minimum-wage lifestyle is unfair and difficult to deal with. Ehrenreich notes that the government is also a factor to be considered when it comes to low-income workers, being that the government decides the minimum wage. She also indicates that the markets are getting increasingly expensive, being that low-income housing and jobs are continually disappearing.
Nickel and Dimed provides a first-hand perspective on the experiences a low-wage worker may encounter. It also supplies the reader with the knowledge that minimum wage is not a “livable” wage. Ehrenreich’s coworkers often find themselves scrabbling to save money or living in a car for a home. It can be seen that, throughout Ehrenreich’s struggle in Maine, the working class is essentially distrusted. While Ehrenreich worked in Minneapolis, Minnesota, she uncovered a blatant link between personal appearance (such as race or color) and financial state of affairs. Nickel and Dimed provides valuable information, which was “reaped” personally by the author and cannot be replaced. One of the many strengths of the book was that it offered well-written, smooth writing, composed of excellent choices of diction as well as good transitioning statements. Although it could have been written a little bit more conservatively, Ehrenreich enriches Nickel and Dimed by writing in an informal manner and in first person point-of-view, raising the book to a more personal level. She writes as though she was talking to a person, rather than writing a political or economic college paper. Granted, Barbara Ehrenreich was a very recognized writer, being that she had won awards as a columnist and as an essayist. Therefore, it can be assumed that Ehrenreich can bring her novel from a different light with ease. Ehrenreich also followed chronological order when...

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