Nickel and Dimed: On Not Getting by in America Themes

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Shame and humiliation keep low-wage workers in their place.

The author admits that she comes from a blue-collar family, so although she's a successful, rather wealthy writer, she does not bring prejudice against people who work with their hands to her assignment. What surprises Ehrenreich is that many people do exhibit a negative attitude toward servers, retailers and especially maids. Frequently those who have just moved up the social and economic ladder themselves are the worst culprits. For example, a housewife who recently worked in a low wage job becomes the harshest boss of the maids she employees. Recently promoted workers strike out at others who rank below them but show sympathy for those above. The owners of miserable, failing motels warn residents not to steal, and housewives who must pick up after their children all day cast clothing around with reckless abandon so that workers must pick it...

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This section contains 1,914 words
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Buy the Nickel and Dimed: On Not Getting by in America Study Guide
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