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The Life Of Barbara Ehrenreich Essay

1576 words - 7 pages

At one point in her career, Barbara Ehrenreich thought that it would be a good idea to get into the life of a person who works for the minimum wage and tries to live of it. As she went through her quest, Barbara met many people who were in fact, struggling. Unlike her, these people had to work multiple jobs, cut down their eating, live in terrible places, and just suffer all because of the lack of money and the need for as much of it as the could get. Some of these employees had others that they had to support, and some only needed to provide for themselves. Nonetheless, millions of people across the US are forced to work jobs where they are miserable in order to be able to give their ...view middle of the document...

The needs of their families and themselves then, is greater then the luxuries that they could instead have.
In the story of Pastoralia, the narrator tells the stories about how he and his cave mate Janet, live in their cave together. Their job is to act like they are actual cave people in an amusement park, where others come to observe their actions and living conditions, much like if it were a zoo. Throughout the course of the story, we learn about how the narrator does not report his cave mate for not staying quiet, being rude to the customers, and just being a complete slacker. But, when he hears about the lay-off of one of the committed workers at the amusement park, he knows that he has to buckle down in order to keep his job. “Dave was super dedicated. He grew his own beard long instead of wearing a fake even when on vacation went around barefoot to make his feet look more like the feet of an actual ascetic”(14). So, after learning about this, he does his best to help make Janet improve and also informs her of what was going on. She agreed that the circumstances might get them both fired so she too tried to get better at her job and be much more committed to it than she was before and so Saunders writes,” ‘Time to pull head out of ass, I guess,’ she says. I give her a thumbs up” (24). Janet knows that if she does not take her job serious, she would be incapable of providing for herself, her mother who is seriously ill, and her son whom has a problem of his own.
Although Janet vows to no longer be a bother to her cave mate, this turns out to not be the case when her son Bradley comes to visit her at work and informs her that he has been kicked out of rehab and that he needs money to throw a party for his friends. “’Is that what this is about?’ she says. ‘You want money? Well I don’t have twenty bucks…”(33). Janet, not having enough to give him, asks her cave mate for a loan, although it is known that Bradley will just end up spending it on drugs. But, knowing that Janet struggles to make ends meet and because she is his friend, loans her the twenty dollars and the son is on his way. The narrator knows that Janet needs the money not for the party, but to assure herself that her son can do something good, although he has been in jail for being caught with drugs. It is unknown if Janet does not actually have the money or if she does not give it to her son because she has a feeling that he would spend it on drugs, but it is assumed that her wage is not high enough to spare money to give to Bradley.
Like Janet, the narrator too has children back home. But the child that is most spoken of is his three year old son, Nelson. Nelson has a condition that causes his muscles to stiffen and when given his medication, he swells up. Later in the story, the narrator’s wife Louise sends him a fax telling him about his son, we learn about how he completely froze while he was playing in a tube at the playground. “Did Dr. Evans ever say anything...

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