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Summary of Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich - Essay Example

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The paper "Summary of Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich" highlights that before long Ehrenreich’s biggest problem becomes exhaustion as she overworks herself in the two jobs. After a short while, it all becomes too much for her that she quits her job at Heathside and begins taking drugs to relieve a stress pain in her back. …
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Summary of Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich
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Download file to see previous pages The effects of poverty during the era of welfare reform are a stack irony of the perceived and actual reality witnessed by the low-wage workforce. Ehrenreich begins her experiment by pondering on ways how people live on wages earned by unskilled persons. In addition, she is perplexed by how millions of women, who are shoved by welfare reforms into the labor market are able to live on measly $7 per hour. In order to complete the experiment successfully, Ehrenreich implements a set of rules, which guide her through the duration of the experiment. To begin with, Ehrenreich establishes that, in the course of the experiment, she will not go hungry, lack a place to sleep, gain access to a vehicle, both her own or one rented and paid for through her credit card. Moreover, the writer pledges not to use any skills she has acquired through her regular work. Her first destination is Key West, Florida, where she settles on an anticipated net income of $500-a-month to facilitate efficient living. While in Florida, she lands her first job as a waitress at the Heatrhside restaurant, who’s working hours and wages show significant disparities. Here, she has to work from 2.00 to 10.00 on a wage of $2.43. We note that Ehrenreich accepts this job from mere necessity as it is not her best possible choice. The irony of Hearthside restaurant is that, despite its minimalism, it is attached to a rather large chain hotel, which offers better work incentives to skilled workers, making it inaccessible for the poor, unskilled workers such as Ehrenreich and her colleagues such as George. The depiction of George, an immigrant unskilled worker who is falsely accused of stealing from his workplace because he is incapable of defending himself, owing to the lack of comprehension of English and the issues around him. This is evident of the injustices suffered by the low-wage workers whose wages render them incapable of seeking legal redress whenever they are confronted with problems such as George’s (Ehrenreich, p.99). Moreover, the hardships faced by low-income earners are compounded by the oppressive nature of those in their surroundings, especially ones who have authority over the former. In the story, Hearthside restaurant’s management employs oppressive tactics in their managerial roles. For instance, Stu is always on the lookout for employees who take time off to relax. At the same time, Stu is always allocating duties to ensure all restaurant employees are working even when there are no customers in the restaurant. In addition, Phillip, the restaurant’s manager humiliates the employees by lecturing them as one would lecture a first grader. He threatens to run impromptu locker searches and condemns employee communication terming it as gossip. Phillip exemplifies a significant problem encountered by unskilled workers trying to survive on a meager salary as he paints the grim picture of what low-wage workers contend with in order to secure their daily bread. The wanton disregard for workers’ rights to communication, as well as their right to privacy, is constantly impeded by those in authority. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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