Our sharpest and most original social critic goes "undercover" as an unskilled worker to reveal the dark side of American prosperity. Millions of Americans work full time, year round, for poverty-level wages. In 1998, Barbara Ehrenreich decided to join them. She was inspired in part by the rhetoric surrounding welfare reform, which promised that a job -- any job -- can be the ticket to a better life. But how does anyone survive, let alone prosper, on $6 an hour? To find out, Ehrenreich left her home, took the cheapest lodgings she could find, and accepted whatever jobs she was offered. Moving from Florida to Maine to Minnesota, she worked as a waitress, a hotel maid, a cleaning woman, a nursing-home aide, and a Wal-Mart sales clerk. She lived in trailer parks and crumbling residential motels. Very quickly, she discovered that no job is truly "unskilled," that even the lowliest occupations require exhausting mental and muscular effort. She also learned that one job is not enough; you need at least two if you int to live indoors. Nickel and Dimed reveals low-rent America in all its tenacity, anxiety, and surprising generosity -- a land of Big Boxes, fast food, and a thousand desperate stratagems for survival. Read it for the smoldering clarity of Ehrenreich's perspective and for a rare view of how "prosperity" looks from the bottom. You will never see anything -- from a motel bathroom to a restaurant meal -- in quite the same way again.
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THE STORY: Can a middle-aged, middle-class woman survive, when she suddenly has to make beds all day in a hotel and live on $7 an hour? Maybe. But one $7-an-hour job won't pay the rent: she'll have to do back-to-back shifts, as a chambermaid and a
Please note that the content of this book primarily consists of articles available from Wikipedia or other free sources online. Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America is a book written by Barbara Ehrenreich. Written from the perspective of the undercover journalist, it sets out to investigate the impact of the 1996 welfare reform on the working poor in the United States. In some ways it is similar to George Orwell's much earlier Down and Out in Paris and London, German investigative reporter Günter Wallraff's Ganz Unten (The Lowest of the Low), and John Howard Griffin's Black Like Me. The events related in the book took place between spring 1998 and summer 2000. The book was first published in 2001 by Metropolitan Books. An earlier version appeared as an article in the January 1999 issue of Harper's magazine. Ehrenreich later wrote a companion book, Bait and Switch (published September 2005), which discusses her attempt to find a white-collar job. A stage adaptation by Joan Holden opened in 2002.
The bestselling author of Nickel and Dimed goes back undercover to do for America's ailing middle class what she did for the working poor Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed explored the lives of low-wage workers. Now, in Bait and Switch, she enters another hidden realm of the economy: the shadowy world of the white-collar unemployed. Armed with a plausible résumé of a professional "in transition," she attempts to land a middle-class job—undergoing career coaching and personality testing, then trawling a series of EST-like boot camps, job fairs, networking events, and evangelical job-search ministries. She gets an image makeover, works to project a winning attitude, yet is proselytized, scammed, lectured, and—again and again—rejected. Bait and Switch highlights the people who've done everything right—gotten college degrees, developed marketable skills, and built up impressive résumés—yet have become repeatedly vulnerable to financial disaster, and not simply due to the vagaries of the business cycle. Today's ultra-lean corporations take pride in shedding their "surplus" employees—plunging them, for months or years at a stretch, into the twilight zone of white-collar unemployment, where job searching becomes a full-time job in itself. As Ehrenreich discovers, there are few social supports for these newly disposable workers—and little security even for those who have jobs. Like the now classic Nickel and Dimed, Bait and Switch is alternately hilarious and tragic, a searing exposé of economic cruelty where we least expect it.
Instructional materials for use with Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed. Includes a synopsis, time line, author sketch, critic's corner, other works by Barbara Ehrenreich, bibliography, general objectives, specific objectives, literary terms and applications, importance of setting, cross-curricular sources, themes and motifs, related reading, how language works, across the curriculum, alternate assessment, a vocabulary test, two comprehension tests, and answer key.
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