In the reading Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America written by Barbara Ehrenreich the struggle of living for most Americans is modeled and is also the main focus. Ehrenreich whose a sociologist writer goes undercover to what the “low-wage economy… has to offer” (Ehrenreich 245). The image portrayed by Americans of the lower class makes it difficult for one of the middle class to understand. Survival of both parties are no way, shape or form similar and this struck Ehrenreich’s curiosity and as an undercover journalist she was able to go through the “nickel and dime” lifestyle of working class individual.
After reading the first paragraph of this article I failed to understand how one of the middle class could undergo, live and understand the life of a working class individual, since that is not the life their accustomed to. Upon researching about Ehrenreich’s undercover act I came across an interview where my question was asked. According to Ehrenreich, regardless of living like a working class individual she still would not understand this lifestyle from this artificial experience.
She also stated that she once lived in poverty but as a middle class person with a home to return to, some savings etc she wouldn’t feel that way again. (barbaraehrenreich. com) After completing the entire reading I understood the many rules one abides by and struggles one goes through in order to survive. Her article was very detailed and because every move and act she performed was documented made it seem very overwhelming. It showed that an individual at most excepts any type of job regardless if it fits their character, as long as its pay will help them to get by.
I could relate my personal experiences to the working class lifestyle modeled by Ehrenreich. A close friend of my family, who I refer to as Aunt Joy out of respect traveled from Florida to reside with my grandmother for a month. Her reasoning for doing so was to hopefully receive a job, one which she was unable to obtain in Florida. She has a bright personality and is full of life and energy like one of a host of a T. V. Show yet searched to find any type of job such as fast food, juice shops etc. Her main target was Home Care work due to the fact that she went to school and training for this job.
Regardless of her knowledge in such field she was unable to obtain any jobs in that field. Aunt Joy tirelessly searched through each borough for a any type of jobs but wasn’t as fortunate as Ehrenreich who found one. Unfortunately Aunt Joy, who I grew a close relationship with had to return to Florida only to start back at square one. In comparison to the actions in the reading, like Ehrenreich who searched and filled out numerous applications for jobs so did Aunt Joy. I believe Barbara Ehrenreich’s interpretation of the working class is evidently true.
The struggles of an individual such as herself is very much different than the individual she portrays in the reading. Her discovery that “the camaraderie of people who are, in almost all cases, far too smart and funny and caring for the work they do and the wages they’re paid. ” (Ehrenreich 264) is true and reminds me of many people that I know. I strongly believe the lifestyle of someone, as portrayed by Ehrenreich is overbearing and sadly it’s what most people go through to survive in today’s society.