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Nickel and Dimed Summary
Barbara Ehrenreich

Everything you need to understand or teach Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich.

  • Nickel and Dimed: On Not Getting by in America Summary & Study Guide
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  • 30 Nickel and Dimed Lessons
  • 20 Activities
  • 180 Multiple Choice Questions
  • 60 Short Essay Questions
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Nickel and Dimed: On Not Getting by in America Summary


When one is charged a little bit at a time until the expense grows beyond expectations, that is called being "nickel and dimed." In 2001's Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, essayist and social critic Barbara Ehrenreich applies this notion to minimum-wage workers. She argues that their spirit and dignity are chipped away by a culture that allows unjust and unlivable working conditions, which results in their becoming a de facto, or actual without being official, servant class. Spurred on by recent welfare reforms and the growing phenomenon of the working poor in the United States, Ehrenreich poses a hypothetical question of daily concern to many Americans: how difficult is it to live on a minimum-wage job? For the lower class, what does it take to match the income one earns to the expenses one must pay?

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Nickel and Dimed Study Guide

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Nickel and Dimed: On Not Getting by in America Lesson Plans contain 129 pages of teaching material, including:

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