Wednesday, March 11, 2015

"Nickel and Dimed" Response

In Barbara Ehrenreich’s essay “From Nickel and Dimed” she explores the life of being a maid living beneath the cost of living. Ehrenreich makes a subtle but effective claim in stating that poverty is tangible for hard working people that work these minimum wage jobs. It is not merely just a number or a few coins. The maids exemplify the working class people. For them poverty is not having enough to eat or make lunch or not having enough to scrape up two dollars to get job supplies. I tend to agree with Ehrenreich’s view. She sheds light on a bigger topic of poverty. It seems as though people are so quick to judge the poor as lazy or attribute their lack of wealth to their own misdoings. Yet, this particular essay highlights the notion that even the hardest working people sometimes are dealt a bad station in life. Ehrenreich herself in fact, sounds extremely intelligent to be someone who works in a maid service. This counters the idea of those who suggest that even bettering ones education will always bring to fruition all their desires and the wealth that comes with it. The fact of the matter is that sometimes in life people are dealt terrible hands. From the outside looking in, it seems easier to judge someone based on success stories alone, that are sometimes our own. It is much harder to empathize with someone’s plight that is not and never has nor will be our own. We are given an opportunity to live vicariously through this woman in Ehrenreich’s essay so that we may begin to grasp an understanding for the hardship. The woman notably, does not complain, but describes. She like so many others seems to have accepted her station in life. She even is left to question just how poor her coworkers really are. It is important to note, most people would like to think of the poor as ignorant, reckless, often time minorities, seeking a payout so that they may carry on with the criminal and disdainful lives a someone else’s expense. However, by generalizing we disregard those who diligent workers who deserve every nickel and dime earned and then some.


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  2. Using our skills readings I analyzed Nasiche Rose’s comment towards “Nickel and Dimed” and I agree with Rose that Ehrenreich does a good job placing the reader in the story. Rose describes every bit of her experience as a maid. All of the details really helped portray to the reader the life of poor maids that many people think they know, but do not complexly understand. People often think low class jobs, as in maids, the workers just do not work hard enough or that they could get a better job if they wanted to. This is most often not the case. Ehrenreich describes in great detail the horrible working conditions, the cruel hours, and the demeaning work environment that these maids had to deal with every day and all for a tiny paycheck. Rose hits it on the mark when she repeats that some people are just dealt a bad hand in life. Sometimes people really do just get stuck in poverty. If there paycheck is barely helping them scrape by how would they be able to pay for education, go to college, to better themselves.