the transparency of bias barbara ehrenreich s

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Pennie and Dimed

In Barbara Ehrenreichs investigative memoir Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America, Ehrenreich herself efforts to investigate if minimum salary is truly a exciting wage by taking up low-paying work in 3 different spots across America. Her answer, unsurprisingly, is not a. Satirizing the often-corrupt companies she works under and developing humbleness through self-deprecation, Ehrenreich recounts her encounters with a feeling of levity, largely free of a romanticized or pitiful portrayal with the poor. She does not, however , allow laughter to dominate the awfulness of lower income, honestly recounting her feeling of fear, misery, and futility. This kind of works to make a nuanced and human portrayal of the poor, which gives gravity to her debate for socioeconomic reform. Ehrenreich compounds this by echoing Marxist terminology and generous sentiment during, rallying liberal support intended for change although also pulling connections among real poor experience and political schedule. By making her bias obvious from the beginning and using Marxist language to develop her story into an argument, Ehrenreich narrows her viewers to those whom already support a raise inside the minimum income as a policy. This allows Ehrenreich’s narrative to stand while the main component of her debate, adding urgency to her schedule by humanizing the poor and revealing the cruel economic facts of low income.

Ehrenreich enters her project and begins her novel having a clear bias: that a bare minimum wage is usually not a exciting wage. This kind of preconceived thesis narrows her audience to the liberal upper class, allowing her to designate her design of argumentation in a way that it is far better. While Ehrenreich approaches her project with a scientific interest, she will so with a tone of clear skepticism, asking, “How can anyone go on the income available to the unskilled? “(1). Furthermore, although she attempts to modest the shock by recognizing the possibility of some “hidden economies” of the poor, she also details “the pessimism of being a wage slave” before possibly beginning her project (5). She also appreciates her predilection for “Marxist rants, inches likely alienating conservative visitors, but garnering support via educated liberals (9). In this way, Ehrenreich explains her individual liberal situation, without obviously addressing the more-conservative counterarguments, narrowing her intended audience to liberals. Speaking to an audience who already supports her agenda, Ehrenreich’s objective then simply becomes adding a sense of mankind to her personal cause, which usually she accomplishes by using metonymy, synecdoche, and body metaphors to demonstrate how poverty degrades her upper-middle class selfhood. The first thing Ehrenreich describes of her leap into the “parallel universe” of poverty is a reduction from the self, being a waitress, she actually is not Barbara the person, however instead, “baby, ‘ ‘honey, ‘ ‘blondie, ‘ or, most commonly, ‘girl'” (13). This kind of exemplification of both metonymy and synecdoche shows just how service work reduces individuals to parts and, while this is really dehumanizing, the fact that it is happening to Ehrenreich (whose mankind, as a member from the upper class, appears implicit) pushes her liberal upper class readers to identify their own humanity with that of the poor. By acknowledging these stereotypes while also narrating her own human being experience being a poor person, Ehrenreich forces her viewers to combine the generous idea of the “noble poor” with the true wage workers who will be treated while mere fragments. This gives a face to the socioeconomic problems Ehrenreich describes, adding desperation to the requirement of reform.

To make profit upon this kind of human desperation derived from her narrative, Ehrenreich imbues her economic discussion with a Marxist pathos to rally a sense of rebellious support from generous reformists, whilst also employing second person to maintain relatability. In one of her many quoted facts “There are not any secret economics that nurture the poor” Ehrenreich fights her point using second-person exemplification by saying, “If you cant put up the 2 months lease you need to protect an apartment, you get paying through the nose for a space by the week. If you have simply a room, with a hot menu at bestYou eat quickly food” (21). By laying out the failure and unavoidable nature the of low-wage economy within an accessible way based on any potential problems of real people, Ehrenreich activates pathos within an otherwise reasonable argument, attaining a marxist-anger anger and drive to stick up for the oppressed-proletariat. Having made effective socioeconomic evaluation throughout, Ehrenreich brings her Marxist-rage for the narrative within the last two chapters, arguing with her low-wage operating peers the need for a pseudo-revolution.

Near to the end of her amount of time in Maine, Ehrenreich breaks her rule against “Marxist rants” and “shaking with angerblows up” at Ted, telling him “him he cannot keep putting money over his workers health” (64) Finally changing her research of the condition and desolation for a option into legitimate action, Ehrenreich encourages a desire to take action within the audience as well, specifically because, because members from the upper class, they have a higher ability to create modify. Moving to Minnesota, Ehrenreich’s desire to work as a voice of a motion continues to grow, while she “makes it her mission” to get Walmart “employees unionized” (100). Whilst earlier in the novel, Ehrenreichs agenda usually seems investigative, containing her bias to the reflection, right now she becomes active, flaming against tainted corporate practices. This helps to illustrate an important point that often gets dropped in the earlier areas of book: it is not necessarily enough to understand how the poor get oppressed. You have to do something about it. Ehrenreich reestablishes this point towards the end of her evaluation when she statements “[the working-poor] go famished so that you can eat more cheaply and conveniently” (120). The upper-middle class who want an increase in the minimum wage are not “philanthropists” bestowing their support on the poor (120). Alternatively, they must pay back their support.

Employing pathos-driven exemplification and financial analysis, Ehrenreich gives a encounter to America’s mass of low-wage employees who drive the American economy without being known as. However , “actually” a highly-educated member of the upper middle course, she also properly engages this kind of group, using Marxist rhetoric and the humanization of poverty to add emergency to the requirement of socio-economic reform. While the book has been heralded for its integrity by some and criticised heavily due to the bias by simply others, that succeeds in its ultimate objective: to receive people talking about the issues of the poor whatsoever.

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