The American Dream In Nickel And Dimed By Barbara Ehrenreich

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In Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich, the author portrays herself as a minimum-wage worker in part of America’s “working poor”. Before writing this book, Ehrenreich was ensconced as part of the middle-upper class. As a journalist, Ehrenreich worked multiple minimum-wage jobs at The Maids, Woodcrest Residential Facility, Walmart, Hearthside and Jerry’s. All of which she had no prior experience performing except for waitressing. By working these minimum-wage jobs, Ehrenreich lives the life of the lower class and interviews others on how they undertake their daily lives. The American Dream is defined as “the ideal that every US citizen should have an equal opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination, and initiative”. Her experiences at the bottom 10% of the working class shows various examples of why the American Dream can no longer be attained today. All the minimum-wage occupations that Ehrenreich engages in requires her to work hard everyday. Despite all of Ehrenreich’s diligent work at the end of every month, she barely manages to make ends meet. The people that she interviewed from the Woodcrest Residential Facility were also in the same situation as Ehrenreich. Her twenty four-year old co-worker Lori has, “a serious disk problem and an $8,000 credit card debt,” (Ehrenreich, 118). Therefore it shows that American Dream cannot be attained from hard work. In this case, Lori was injured from her hard work thus leaving her crippled and

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