While the reality is that most minimum wage workers are forced into working more than....It is important to note how Ehrenreich chose to put "not" in parentheses, and that choice on her part is directly related to her primary theme which is that it is virtually impossible to provide basic needs for one's self by working one minimum wage job.Super Summary, a modern alternative to Spark Notes and Cliffs Notes, offers high-quality study guides that feature detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, quotes, and essay topics.
Within American culture, it is common for those who enjoy such advantages as having a safe and comfortable place to live, access to medical services, and proper nutrition to believe that these are the just deserts of their hard work and determination.
The flip side of this common attitude is the idea that those who lack such things, the have-nots, are deprived due to their lack of motivation and resourcefulness.
But the combination of waitressing and cleaning proves to be too physically demanding for Ehlereich.
Suffering from near exhaustion, Ehlereich gives up the housecleaning job after only a single day on the job.
The situation forces Ehlereich to take up residence in a hotel, where she feels vulnerable to attack by those who pass by her first floor window.
In each location Ehlereich sees the same pattern of lack of opportunities for those struggling to survive, a situation perpetuated by employers and merchants who reap profits of all the hard work done by their employees and customers.With the exception of those who are unable to work due to disability, those living in adverse conditions are generally not seen as deserving of sympathy from the more fortunate.In Barbara Ehlereich seeks to correct many such misconceptions about the bottom rungs of American society, and in particular, to make her readers aware of the obstacles that prevent even the most determined among the nation’s poor from achieving access to the lifestyle that most above them take for granted.Although she had planned to remain in each of the three locations on the itinerary for at least a month, Ehlereich acknowledges that she has been defeated by Key West; She simply lacks the physical stamina to do what unskilled laborers do just to survive.Another important observation Ehlereich makes in the course of her experiment is that in addition to earning low wages and living paycheck to paycheck, unskilled laborers are hit with extra costs for necessities such as rent and food.What is perhaps most astonishing of all in Nickel and Dimed, however, is the resignation expressed by those whom Ehlereich works beside.It raises an important question: if those in some of the higher echelons of society are able to recognize the injustice and exploitation evident in Ehlereich’s narrative, why are those who are subject to such treatment unable to recognize it as such?In Portland, Ehlereich experiences the same level of exhaustion that she experienced in Key West.Moreover, she gets a glimpse into the callous way that low-level workers are often treated by their employers.One of the first things Ehlereich noticed was that the availability of jobs for unskilled laborers was much smaller than one would be led to believe by the number of job openings advertised.After sending out dozens of applications and hearing nothing back, Ehlereich finally is offered a job as a waitress.