In this article, I’ll talk about Barbara Ehrenreich’s book Nickel and Dimed and what it means to be “nickel and dime.” She was an undercover journalist who investigated the impact of the welfare reform act. What did she find? You’ll be surprised! I hope you’ll enjoy the book! Then, I’ll tell you about my personal experience as well! But first, I’ll discuss what makes Nickel and Dimed so powerful.
Often cited as a leading social critic, Barbara Ehrenreich’s most recent book, Nickel and Dime, is a call to action for all Americans. The author, whose career spans three decades, has uncovered the dark side of American prosperity and shows that millions of Americans are working full-time for minimum wage. She took this action after reading rhetoric about welfare reform, which promised a better life with any job.
The author, Barbara Ehrenreich, is a Ph.D. in biology and lives in an upper middle-class environment. She decides to test the limits of her position by taking on a minimum-wage job for three months. Her actions are both absurd and unsatisfying. The idea that work is simply a means to an end is simply untrue. Her efforts to get by, and even move up, were a far cry from the goal of work.
The novel “1984” by George Orwell is about a future in which a surveillance state will suffocate the individual. The story is set in London, which is an outpost of Oceania where the dollar is the currency. George is accused of stealing from a company and, because he doesn’t speak the language, can’t defend himself. He ends up being fired. The novel will make you question the nature of our democratic society.
In his novel, Orwell feared that a hot war between the Soviet Empire and the Anglo-American Union would lead to a wrecked economy, paving the way for a totalitarian takeover of Germany in the 1920s. In this way, Nickel and Dime follows the tradition of investigative journalism, wherein a writer infiltrates a marginalized group to find out what their situation is really like. The tradition goes back to Jack London’s People of the Abyss and George Orwell’s Road to Wigan Pier, as well as John Howard Griffin’s Black Like Me.
Barbara Ehrenreich’s novel, “Nickel and Dimed,” focuses on the plight of the working poor. Her book opens with a discussion of the concept of Nickel and Dimed, and Ehrenreich’s reluctance to go undercover is understandable as she learns the true costs of a low-wage job. Her quality of life, however, is far inferior to the one she enjoyed as a journalist.
Despite the book’s focus on the economic consequences of welfare reform, Nickel and Dimed is a timely read. The sweeping changes in the American economy have made self-initiative even more prominent than in the last century, when young entrepreneurs made it big. Technology has created a wider array of comforts and productivity tools, while changing social mores have made individual independence more valued than the needs of the community. The author’s personal experience, however, is unique, and may not resonate with readers.
The decline of investigative journalism is a sad reflection of the state of the media. Many journalists are increasingly unwilling to tell the truth, and the public has come to expect more from them. The declining budgets for news outlets have made it nearly impossible to fund investigative journalism. Yet, even the most conservative critics of the news media recognize that investigative reporting is a vital part of free democracy. A recent Brookings Essay by Robert Kaiser, a former reporter at The Washington Post, considers the demise of investigative journalism and the challenges of sustaining it in the digital age.
Despite the lack of support for investigative journalism, many people have lauded the book for its message about the value of American work and values. While some people think it’s hypocritical of the media to rely solely on commercial outlets, the book’s authors have more than one motive. While they believe in the importance of investigative journalism, Ehrenreich’s personal agenda is largely self-serving.
The Naked Eye Theatre Company will perform Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America, a stage adaptation of the book. Ehrenreich is the narrator of the story, and she conducts her experiments as a different Barbara, referred to as “Barb,” for her Wal-Mart name tag. She develops a different set of concerns than the “real” Barbara.
Ehrenreich, a prominent magazine journalist, traveled across the country to investigate the minimum wage in the United States. She went undercover as a maid, salesclerk, and waitress to investigate the issue. This is the story behind the book, Nickel and Dimed, a stage adaptation of Ehrenreich’s best-selling book. This production includes biting commentary from Ehrenreich. The play runs through May 30th.
Barbara Ehrenreich’s novel Nickel and Dimed is a powerful portrayal of class tensions. Her experience as a working-class woman reinforces the tensions between upper-class and lower-class Americans. While class may be defined by wealth and privilege, it can also be defined by experience, perspective, and values. In the novel, Ehrenreich explores the lives of those who are working-class and find out why they struggle with their daily struggles.
The novel was published during a time of economic prosperity in the United States, when a booming Internet industry made millions of young people overnight. This era of self-initiative has never been more apparent, and new technologies such as the Internet have made it easier to be independent and more productive than ever. The era of Nickel and Dimed is representative of a shift in the American psyche that emphasizes individual independence over communal needs.