"Nickel and Dimed" response paper

Essay by SpaxHigh School, 11th grade October 2006

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Barbara Ehrenreich writes a very detailed book on the encompassing subject of people in America trying to get by in order to achieve the well-envied American dream. Barbara embarks upon a solitary mission to discover what the lower classes of America are subjected to endure in order to provide a substantial living for themselves and, perhaps, also their family. Barbara abandons her previous lifestyle and takes on several minimum wage jobs, making just enough money to pay for her many necessities required for a civilized existence such as: housing, food, transportation, and clothing. At one point in the story, her journey becomes so difficult that she is forced to succumb to receiving financial aid. Barbara wanted to discover if it really was possible for someone to live with the minimum wage jobs that have been provided by the welfare reform, which promise that a better life could be achieved by getting a job, any job.

In reality, a hard work ethic and a job are alone, not enough to provide a better lifestyle for low-level workers in America.

Through reading this book, one can truly discover the pains and heartaches that millions of Americans go through every day. Those who work in these conditions suffer great emotional stress due to bills, bosses, and often repetitive work that seems unending. These Americans also suffer physical stresses because of long working hours, short breaks, and radical cases of sleep deprivation. It takes a very hard working person to survive in such an unforgiving world such as this scenario that Barbara is experiencing. Barbara makes, and often succeeds in her many attempts to connect with the people around her. She learns of their stories and their struggles to survive.

Recently, I have experienced not but a taste of this lifestyle. For a...