Nickel and Dimed Essay example
2398 Words10 Pages
“Somebody should research that.” (Ehrenreich, 2001). During the final course of her 30.00 lunch with Louis Lapham, editor of Harpers, Barbara Ehrenreich wondered how people could survive on minimum wage. She would soon be eating her words as Lapham pointed to her and said, “You”.
Reluctant at first to be the one doing the research, Ehrenreich finally capitulates and begins life as a minimum wage worker in America. The main idea of her experiment was to spend one month in each place and make enough to pay the second month’s rent (p.5-6). She wonders if she will find some special techniques that the poor use to get by. She finds that there are no secret economies, people just do the best they can with what they have available.…show more content…
They also need to arrange their workdays around the bus schedule. Therefore, by having access to a car at all times, Ehrenreich already has many benefits that others might not.
Ehrenreich starts her experiment close to home in Key West, Florida where she discovers that a dilapidated trailer close to work is out of her price range. She comments, “Trailer trash is now something to aspire to” ( p.12). Eventually, she moves into a trailer closer to work but for now, she finds a pleasant efficiency unit about 45 minutes from work. After filling out over twenty applications in three days, Ehrenreich has received no phone calls. She discovers that many companies stockpile applications because of their high turnover rates, so help-wanted ads are not an indication of job availability. A short time later, Ehrenreich is hired as a waitress at the Hearthside, a restaurant attached to a discount chain hotel. Ehrenreich’s account of her training with Gail, another waitress, is an entertaining read. “All food must be trayed, and the reason she’s so tired today is she woke up in a cold sweat thinking of her boyfriend, who was killed a few months ago scuffle in an upstate prison. No refills on lemonade. And the reason he was in prison….” (p.17)
At the Hearthside, Ehrenreich realizes that she is not overqualified, as she had feared, but incom-petent. Gail’s reassurances do not comfort her. She is determined to fulfill the
Essay Topic 1
One of the biggest beliefs the author holds about the way a person can better themselves in the world is that education can allow a person to do anything and to be something more.
Part 1: How does the author's educational level help her in the process of this project?
Part 2: Why do you think the other workers around the author don't realize she is more educated than them?
Part 3: Why do you think the author expected the others she worked with to notice her educational level? What does this say about the author?
Essay Topic 2
The idea of poverty is one of the most complex issues this world seems to be unable and often unwilling to tackle.
Part 1: How do you define the idea of poverty? Can there be only one definition? Why or why not?
Part 2: Why do you think poverty is so hard for...
(read more Essay Topics)
|This section contains 1,612 words|
(approx. 6 pages at 300 words per page)
View a FREE sample