Nickel and Dimed

Topics: Poverty, Anxiety, Rhetoric Pages: 6 (1031 words) Published: October 9, 2013
Rhetorical Strategies

Chapter 1

She appeals the the reader's emotions when she describes her plight and that of others of her position on page 26 and several other places. She uses logos when she does the number-crunching that shows that financially she won’t be able to just have one job on page 28. She Uses ethos in the beginning (mostly the introduction) when she tells about her success as a writer (this also makes it more dramatic when she fails at unskilled labor later.

Chapter 2


“all I can see is a grass fire raging in the back of my eyes (112)” Purpose: To show just how angry Ehrenreich is. And she’s REALLY angry.

“Repetitive injury of spirit (106)”- Purpose: To paint an image of the state of the spirit after too much work.


“Laughing like pagans (112)”- Purpose: To show how flippant and exuberant she felt at that time.

Transferred Epithet

“pornographic late-afternoon food conversations (112)”- Purpose: To tell how horrible and graphic these conversations are to Barb.

“motives seem murky (99)-Purpose: To give a clear image of her state of mind


“Dickey, be gone! (67)”-Purpose: To add a bit of flavor to the book and make it more informal by adding a tangential thought.


"'it’ could be three hundred, and then it’s a ratio of ten to one. Huh?”- Purpose: To garner contempt for the appearingly stupid and hypocritical Christians.


“I have been been inducted into a world rich with gossip and intrigue, and now baptized in the whitest of fluids (66)”-Purpose: To inject humor to the situation and show that she takes things into stride, even getting milk poured on her.


“What is a self-respecting restaurant cook doing in a flavor-free environment anyway? (65)”- Purpose: To express doubt about Pete’s honesty, she overemphasizes the blandness of the food he serves.


“wizened toddlers at a tea-party (103)”- Purposes: By juxtaposing "wizened" and "toddlers," two contrasting ideas, she paints an accurate picture of those afflicted by Alzheimer's

Chapter 3


Describes initial impression of Minnesota as the "very perfection of early summer (121)" in poetic language. Purpose: Sets up for the crushing reality of what Minnesota is really like for its poor.


Footnotes on Page 127, 128, 140, 174, 183. Purpose: having the footnotes at the bottom chock-full of figures and calculations adds intelligence and weight to her argument, telling the reader that what she is telling us is not purely "anecdotal" evidence, but that experts agree that working minimum wage is not feasible.


"sunny self-confident self (123)" Purpose: emphasizes the image she wishes to give off when she presents herself for an interview.


"powerful altruism in retail-related matters (125)". Purpose: Retail is pretty much the opposite of altruism. All they want to do is separate people from their money and the author uses sarcasm to illuminate many retailers' hypocrisy. "You have to wonder...why such fiends as these union organizers, such outright extortionists, are allowed to roam free in the land (145)." Purpose: The author takes the style that Wal-Mart uses in their videos condemning unions and dramatizes it, showing just how ridiculous these claims are.


On page 125 She worries that Claritin-D will show up as Chrystal Meth on her drug test. Purpose: This shows just how stressed out and worried she was about the drug test, and that many-times, fear is irrational. She hears a women singing “the world’s saddest song (161)”. Shows how stressed out and sad she feels at this moment.

Interrupted sentence

"It rankles - at some deep personal, physical level - to know that many engaging qualities I believe I have to offer - friendliness, reliability, willingness to learn - can all be trumped by my pee (127)."...
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