Nickel And Dimed And Scratch Beginnings Analysis

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From the beginning of Nickel and Dimed and Scratch Beginnings, the question posed is the same: “Does the American Dream still exist in the modern America?” And while liberal and conservative commentators will openly contradict each other and argue the viability of making it from almost nothing in this modern age, all that is hearsay. Ehrenreich and Shepard, the authors of Nickel and Dimed and Scratch Beginnings respectively, tried to go beyond what the commentators were doing and prove whether the American dream was still alive by embarking on their own separate case studies. And while, it is imaginable that anyone can rise from rags to as, Shepard stated “[to] slightly better rags,” the how to do this is the item in question. The American…show more content…
The American Dream is almost purely run by structural forces, in her perspective, that are constantly attempting to impede the middle class’ ability for upward mobility. Those who are impoverished are there because of their surroundings, the institutions that shape their lives and therefore, they simply cannot find any way out of the poverty trap in which they have found themselves. While Ehrenreich was conducting her case study, she attempted to determine if the American Dream was by attempting to immerse herself in the culture of the poor. She only did so partially due to several stipulations that she set for the experiment as she stated that she would not live in a shelter (Shepard did), that she would not get rid of her vehicle and rely on public transportation (Shepard also did this); however, she did note that even for her, being partially immersed as she was, still found there to be not much difference between herself and those that worked around. She believed, from her experiences, that the social structure of the employment opportunities, was a systematic way to dehumanize the workers. She specifically harped on this point when she was mandated for a drug test before receiving her job or even being considered for hire. Additionally, she believed that the social structure also attempted to demoralize the workers so that they do not attempt to locate higher paying and flexible…show more content…
In Monroe County, Florida, where Key West resides, the living wage is considered to be $13.10; in Portland, Maine, the living wage is $11.16, and in Minneapolis, Minnesota, it is $11.01. The highest wage that Barbara was ever offered was $10.00 an hour as a plumber while everywhere else she made either minimum wage or lower with tips. She was barely able to scrape by, and based off the livin wage estimates, would have been lucky if she could have afforded an apartment during her stay in any of the cities in which she had attempted to reside. Whether her wages were simply lower because of her gender was not established, but even if she were making these wages as a male, she would more than likely have to room with someone in order to afford an apartment, something that she said she would not do at the outset of the case study. However, Shepard, should have been able to survive in Charleston if he could maintain a decent tip after all of his moving appointments. The living wage in Charleston was much higher than his eventual wage of $10 an hour, at 11.56, but if he could make at least a sixteen-dollar tip after working for eight hours, he would have been just above the living wage at $12. But even if he did make above the living wage, he would have not achieved his goal of affording his own mode of transportation or his own furnished apartment if not for Crisis

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