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Nickel And Dimed: Book Review

analytical Essay
1149 words
1149 words
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Can someone really live and prosper in American receiving minimal income? Can someone create a good lifestyle for themselves on just six to seven dollars an hour? In Nickel and Dimed Barbara Ehrenreich goes undercover to find out if it is indeed possible. Giving herself only $1,000 she leaves the lifestyle that she has come accustomed too and goes to join all the people living the low class way of life. Before setting out, she gave herself a list of rules she had to follow so that her experience would be as real as it could be. Her first rule was when looking for a job she couldn't mention the skills she had learned from her education. Second, she had to take the highest paying job that was being offered to her. Third, she had to live in the cheapest accommodation that she could, providing that it was a safe environment. Going hungry and being homeless weren't ever able to be options. She knows she will never truly experience poverty because this is nothing more than a project but she leaves behind her old life and becomes known as a divorced homemaker reentering the workforce after many years. Her main goal is to get enough income to be able to pay for all her expenses and have enough money to pay next months rent. In Chapter One she makes a start in Key West. In this chapter she learns a lot about low-wage-job applications. Each application she fills out has many multi choice questions and later on a urine test. She ends up waiting many days hearing nothing back and then applying for a job waitressing. She's hired and is paid $2.43 and hour plus tips. As days go by she finds herself growing to dislike management noting how she is constantly up and about while those that supervise sit all day. She has to constantly be... ... middle of paper ... ...les she had set for herself but she feels that she did a good job at her project. She was alarmed by the way that some of her co-workers lived and felt that she learned a lot from her experiences. I really enjoyed reading this book. It truly gives you a lot to think about. I'm only in high school which doesn't give me much opportunity right now of getting a good job, even though I'm going to be in need of one since I'm having a baby. This book made me see that I better have a good education to get a good job or I'm not going to be able to take care of myself and a baby. Things have gotten a lot better for people in the work place since this book was written but I know that people are still facing the same problems that she had. In my mind I think having a job is better that not having a job. I'd rather get paid $6 an hour then not have any source of income at all.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how barbara ehrenreich, in nickel and dimed, goes undercover to find out if it is indeed possible.
  • Narrates how a young woman gave herself rules to follow to make her experience real. she had to take the highest paying job, live in the cheapest accommodation, and go hungry and be homeless.
  • Describes how the divorced homemaker's main goal is to get enough income to be able to pay for all her expenses and have enough money for next months rent.
  • Narrates how in chapter one, she learns about low-wage-job applications. she applies for a job waitressing and is paid $2.43 and hour plus tips
  • Analyzes how the employee dislikes management because she is constantly up and about while those that supervise sit all day. she must keep herself occupied without outdoing her co-workers.
  • Narrates how in the beginning of the chapter, she had found an apartment that she thought she could afford, but she finds out that if someone can't afford a deposit, they'll find themselves in hotels.
  • Narrates how barbara gets another waitressing job which turns out a lot worse than her other one. soon she quits her first job because she is unable to work at both places.
  • Narrates how after almost a month, the housekeeper in key west gets another job which only lasts for one day. later that day, she walks out after her manager yells at her.
  • Narrates how in chapter two, she moves on to maine due to its "whiteness". she finds housing that's a lot cheaper than the almost $60-a-night hotel room.
  • Narrates how ehrenreich builds up a pile of applications so that after someone quits they can easily be replaced. when one of her co-workers hurt herself on the job, she sees that people can't afford or are too afraid to take time off.
  • Describes how the woman gets a part-time nursing home job for $7 an hour. she doesn't have to bring lunch to this job because she gets to eat after the residents at the home.
  • Narrates how the woman struggles to find assistance to help her with food. she learns that there isn't a lot of help in maine, and everyone she talks to does little.
  • Narrates how in chapter 3, she starts over again in minnesota and finds herself lucky because she gets to stay at a friends while there out of town, saving her the trouble of finding housing right away.
  • Narrates how ehrenreich chooses between wal-mart and menards and ends up working in the women's department organizing and hanging up clothes.
  • Analyzes how barbara ended up breaking all of the rules she had set for herself but felt that she did a good job at her project. she was alarmed by the way that some of her co-workers lived.
  • Opines that they enjoyed reading this book since they're only in high school, which doesn't give them much opportunity to get a good job.
  • Opines that having a job is better than not having one. they'd rather get paid $6 an hour than have no source of income.
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