Nickel & Dimed
In the novel Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich, we see the true story of what is going on in most of America. Better yet, we see the every-day realities of the 35% of the people in our country who are struggling financially. Today, many people deal with homelessness, unemployment, and low paying jobs just the way Ehrenreich did for this experiment. The goal was to see if the money she made monthly would be enough to get her by with the next months rent. Although she was educated with a Ph.D in Biology, she set her real life aside to take a step into the lives of those in poverty. She opens the readers eyes to the fact that many Americans are making far less money than they deserve: “No one ever said that you could work hard—harder even than you ever thought possible—and still find yourself sinking ever deeper into poverty and debt.” Ehrenreich’s novel proves the point that despite ones hard work, our not-so-fast economy can still lead to countless amounts of struggles. Ehrenreich’s experiment begins in Key West, Florida. She is under the identity of a newly divorced housewife fresh into the work industry. She first learns her way about the application process of low wage jobs. She discovers that they entail a survey of questions, along with a urine test. After three days of not hearing back from the jobs she had applied for, she begins to feel desperate and applies for a waitressing job at very low pay. She earned $2.43 an hour, with grueling hours beginning at 2 P.M. and ending at 10 P.M. daily. She soon realizes this one job will not get her by, and applies for a second waitressing job. At this time she is living in a hotel room, and takes a job as a hotel housekeeper as well. Ehrenreich leaves the second waitressing job due to unbearable work conditions, and continues her journey in Portland, Maine hoping for better luck. Soon enough, though, she is forced with the reality that decent paying jobs are not so easy...
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