Nickel and Dimed: On Not Getting by in America Essay

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In the following essay, Sherman analyzes Ehrenreich's complex and often contradictory attitude toward the people she writes about.

A striking feature of immersion narratives like London's People of the Abyss and Orwell's Road to Wigan Pier is the extent to which compassion and sympathy co-exist uneasily with revulsion and disapproval. Jack London possessed a deep empathy for the slum dwellers of turn-of-the-century England, but he still allowed himself to describe them as "stupid and heavy, without imagination." Orwell, recalling his stay in a squalid lodging house in the industrial north of England, confessed: "On the day when there was a full chamber-pot under the breakfast table I decided to leave. The place was beginning to depress me." Passages of this sort tell us something about the immutability of class boundaries; but they also stand as examples of reportorial...

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This section contains 787 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Nickel and Dimed: On Not Getting by in America Study Guide
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