Appropriate Humor in Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich Essay examples

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Barbara Ehrenreich employed the use of humor multiple times in Nickel and Dimed; it was perhaps her most frequently used rhetorical device. Ehrenreich was trying to portray the tragedy and heartbreak of the situation by using that sort of hopeless, sardonic humor. She also used her humor as a way to camouflage topics that would otherwise be off-limits. Although some of the humor included in the narrative may have seemed distasteful, it all had a purpose and was rarely used inappropriately. The majority of her witty remarks were used in a sardonic way. This was to present the hopelessness of her situation. On page 109, Ehrenreich speaks of how unskilled her job really is. "But why complain about not being paid when those people at…show more content…
Ehrenreich knew that most audiences most easily connect with humor; therefore, she used it very frequently. This sarcasm not only keeps readers involved, but it also makes certain connections that they would not normally put together. Barbara Ehrenreich often applied the use of humor as a camouflage for topics that would otherwise be off-limits. She understood that humor is the easiest way to get a point across without offending anyone. On page 92, she illustrates a rather vulgar part of her maid job. "Let's talk about shit, for example. It happens, as the bumper sticker says, and it happens to a cleaning person every day." This is definitely a subject that most readers may have found inappropriate; however, Ehrenreich's tone throughout the entire book camouflages the lewdness of the topic. Instead of just dropping the anecdote, she realized the purpose it showed in illustrating how vile her experiences were. She went on with the topic even more by telling a humorous story. "The first time I encountered a shit-stained toilet as a maid, I was shocked by the sense of unwanted intimacy. A few hours ago, some well-fed butt was straining away on this toilet seat, and now here I am wiping up after it." This is perhaps the most effective example of the author camouflaging a completely inappropriate topic with humor. Over all, Ehrenreich used humor for a variety of reasons. She needed a way to convey the

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