Essay on Nickel and Dimed Analysis

2334 Words Mar 28th, 2007 10 Pages
Ed Fleming
Rhetorical Analysis Paper
English 102 Thurs Hybrid

In Barbara Ehrenreich's book "Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by In America" we read about a middle aged journalist undertaking a social experiment of the greatest magnitude. The journalist is Ehrenreich herself and the experiment was to find out how a woman, recently removed from welfare, due to policy reform, would make it on a six or seven dollar an hour wage. The experiment itself started out as just a question in the middle of lunch with one of Ehrenreich's editors, it soon turned into a job assignment. Before starting the experiment, Ehrenreich laid out some ground rules for her to follow during the duration of the assignment. First she could never use
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Besides the constant abuse dished out by her bosses, Ehrenreich observes a new problem amongst her coworkers. The ever looming living situation that so many of them didn't seem to have. One lady was living in a truck because she felt more comfortable there than in an apartment with a man that was starting to hit on her. Another man, one that everybody felt was the richest amongst them, owned an eight food wide trailer on a piece of rental property. Because she observes it cost so much just to start living in an apartment, many workers are forced to spend in upwards of sixty dollars a week to live in a hotel room. Also because her coworkers cannot land steady housing, they are constantly experiencing turmoil in their lives, from lack of safety due to living in a car that anything can get into, to not being able to sleep because one of the other nine living partners haven't vacated one of the few sleeping areas in a small apartment. Because Ehrenreich spends so much of her money on her housing, even after she has moved, about fifty percent of her cost is applied to living expenses; she is forced to find another job. She falls into a small bit of luck here, finding a job at the attached hotel, but soon runs into the same problems she has at her waitressing job. Before long she sees the class separation exhibited by the manager/employee relationship. At her new job she cleans bedrooms, and is being

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