Essay on Nickle and Dimed: Trading Places

Essay on Nickle and Dimed: Trading Places

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For Barbara Ehrenreich's book Nickel and Dimed to be effective, she has to utilize imagery, an extremely effective method of description. By her very detailed descriptions, Ehrenreich is able to "paint a picture" of what it was like for her to go through her yearlong adventure. She incorporates imagery often, making the reader feel like they are actually in the story, feeling what she felt, seeing what she saw, and going through what she went through. For example when Ehrenreich describes her room at the Clearview Inn, " Room 133 contains a bed, a chair, a chest of drawers, and a TV fastened to the wall. I plead for and get a lamp to complement the single overhead bulb. Instead of the mold smell, I now breathe a mixture of fresh paint and what I eventually identify as mouse droppings." (151). She could just of easily have said that the hotel was dirty with a bad smell, however she incorporates imagery by giving a precise depiction to give the reader a better understanding of how rancid the conditions were, almost making the reader smell what she smelled. When Ehrenreich describes her first lodging as "a cabin, more or less, set in the swampy backyard of the converted mobile home where my landlord, an affable TV repairman, lives with his bartender girlfriend"(12). Here, she uses imagery by getting the reader to envision the murky area and imagine what it would be like.

Another major method used by Ehrenreich to help the reader better understand and relate is realism. In the book, Ehrenreich gives the reader a notice that she gives some false information throughout her novel, only changing a few names for confidentiality reasons. " I should mention here that names and identifying details have been altered to preserve the privac...


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... These people do not want to know what they do not have to. For someone to tell him or her not to do something, that is good enough for them. These people are the ones that miss out on a lot, never really getting the whole picture of life. The second group of people is the risk takers. This group tests their boundaries. They want to know what the world is like on the other side. They are not afraid to take a chance and maybe screw up sometime, because that is how they learn. This is what I got out of Ehrenreich's book. So in order for a reader to learn something from a book, they have to be a risk taker, they have to be open minded and willing to compromise themselves for sake of the book, By compromise I mean trade places and put yourself in someone else's shoes.

Works Cited

Ehrenreich, Barbara. Nickel and Dimed. New York: Henry Holt and Company, LLC 2001.

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