Analysis of Nickel and Dimed

Topics: Rhetoric, Wage, Laborer Pages: 2 (714 words) Published: October 28, 2008
Analysis on “Serving in Florida”
In the essay, “Serving in Florida,” by Barbara Ehrenreich, the author shares her experiences of how it is for an unskilled person to live on minimum wage in Florida. She wanted to see if she could maintain a lifestyle working low wage paying jobs the way millions of women were. By the authors use of ethos, pathos and logos, one can feel and understand the stress that many of these Americans have. There are three types of persuasion; ethos: the credibility that the author establishes, pathos: the persuasion of audiences by using emotions, and logos: systems of reasoning. By putting all these persuasive techniques together, the author was able to create an essay in which the people from the same background could identify with.

Ethos refers to the trustworthiness of the writer. In this essay, the author tries to establish her trust with the readers by stating since the beginning of the essay that she was not poor herself. “My own situation, when I sit down to assess it after two weeks of work, would not be much better if this were my actual life.” (p.246). It is as if her mission was to see whether the lower-class life was worthwhile. Instead of me feeling good that she was trying to portray what an unskilled laborer has to go through, I felt like she was making fun of them. She was trying to demonstrate that “she” was not one of “them.” Ehrenreich makes the assumption that this personal experience is a valid way of estimating what a low-wage lifestyle is like. It could have

Torres 2
been better if she presented herself as a scholar who was writing a book and conducted interviews, instead of writing it as a story. Like the quote says, “The best way to find out what a certain life would be like is to walk in the shoes of one who lives it.” (Anonymous) Even if she did try to place herself in the position of the working poor, she is never going to feel the same way that they will. They did not start their...

Cited: Ehrenreich, Barbara. “Serving in Florida.” The Arlington Reader. Bedford/ St. Martin’s, 2008.
Rhetoric. 8 October 2008. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 28 October 2008.
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