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Barbara Ehrenreich's “struggle” to Live the Life of a Low Income Worker

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Barbara Ehrenreich’s “Struggle” to Live the Life of a Low Income Worker

In the novel Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehnreich, there are many hurtles she must overcome to experience the life of a low income worker. She sets some ground rules for herself, such as always having a car, and starting out with a certain amount of money for her down payment on an apartment. Although the rules are doable, she admits that she broke all of the rules at least once. Even though Barbara didn’t hold to her original plan, she was still able to reveal her appeals clearly.

Barbara has many examples of the three appeals in the first chapter alone. Pathos, aimed at the readers feelings. Ethos, aimed at the reader to trust her because of her experiences. Logos, aimed at the readers intellect. These three ideas are quit easy to pick out, and give a little more weight to the story, and they make the book more enjoyable for the reader. It is easier to find the pathos rather than ethos, and logos because you usually tend to look for something in a book to connect yourself with the writer. Ehrenreich’s idea to persuade the reader is to connect with them on a personal level, or even just let them in on her character’s feelings, and ideas just enough to feel for her. This technique works well, because it actually gets the attention of the reader and holds it.

Ehrenreich gets a job as a waitress and one of the first times she uses pathos is when she explains what she had to go through to get the job. “…if you want to stack Cheerios boxes or vacuum hotel rooms in chemically fascist America, you have to be willing to squat down and pee in front of a health worker(who has no doubt had to do the same thing herself.)(Barbara Ehrenreich, 14) In this appeal Ehrenreich is stating that all low income workers are treated like dirt, and made to strip themselves of their dignity to get an honest paying job. She passes on this job, and later starts working as a waitress at Hearthside, a family restaurant attached to the hotel.

She tells about her experience as a waitress, and flashes back to her teenage years “…I remember it leaving me bone-tired when I was eighteen, and I’m decades of varicosities and back pain beyond that now.”(Ehrenreich, 13) This is an example of ethos. She tells about the side work involved, and gives credit to the real people who do these kinds of jobs everyday. It is defiantly a strain on her, and her co-workers have a lot more on their plates than she does.

When she starts her first day at Hearthside, the woman training her, Gail, tells her about her life. This is the first time Ehrenreich gets a taste of the lives in low paying jobs world. “…the reason she’s so tired today is that she woke up in a cold sweat thinking of her boyfriend, who was killed a few months ago in a scuffle in an upstate prison … and after he was gone she spent several months living in her truck, peeing in a plastic pee

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