The Life of Barbara Ehrenreich Essay

The Life of Barbara Ehrenreich Essay

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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 families what they need, no matter what they have to give up in order to do so. Some of the people she meets are very similar to the characters in George Saunders’ story Pastoralia in the terms that they too work hard, don’t get the best treatment, and are only working because of their need to provide and sustain themselves and others. Saunders subtly depicts his characters as minimum wage workers, much like those in real life, who are struggling to give their loved ones what they need.
Authors have been known to use their writing as symbols of other things that are occurring in the world. For George Saunders, in Pastoralia, he writes about characters that reflect real-life workers that are earning a low wage. Through many elements in his story, Saunders shows his audience how the narrator goes through his daily routines in order to provide for himself and his family, how his cave mate tries to provide for her mother and son, and how they aren’t in the best of conditions. Although it seems that this is a different period, it greatly relates to...


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...y make $40,000 a year, they are forced to live in a house where they pay $825 a month for rent. Their ceiling leaks when the toilet above it is flushed, their toilet only flushes when water is poured into the tank, their rooms are very small, and it is not the best neighborhood. They may be considered to be in the middle class, their expenses take up most of their income and leaves without enough money to live comfortably. Like Caroline, the main character and his cave mate have to work as much as possible and live in bad conditions, but do it all in order to provide for their families. George Saunders writes about his characters to show the problems of many people today and to allow his audience to see what workers will do in order to provide for themselves and others. Pastoralia, then, is a distortion of what we see today with employees and their employers.



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