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serving in Florida

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Anshita Khare

on 25 February 2015

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Transcript of serving in Florida

layout of Nickle and Dimed
Prompted by the
lack of conversation
about the working class, Ehrenriech wrote Nickles and times to communicate to the middle and upper class the
of minimum wage in sustaining a
"successful" lifestyle.
eg: “You learn to stuff your pockets with napkins before going in there, and too bad about the customers, who must eat, although they don’t realize it, almost literally out of our hands.”

The first paragraph is in 2nd person point of view to establish the setting and tone of the passage.
The first person point of view allows for the
tone and enables Ehrenreich to develop a
with the audience though her humor and reactions to her environment.
complex sentence structure
aid her conversational tone

serving in Florida
Barbra Ehrenreich
Recent Titles:

Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream (2005)

Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America (2001)
most critically acclaimed book

Past Professions:

Periodical Writer
effects visible in tone and style
eg: references to pop culture such as the Susan McDougal fiasco
Ehrenriech's work as a liberal social critic is marked by her sardonic tone

impacts execution of "experiment"
"test a mathematical proposition."
Towards the end of the 20th century, economic growth overshadowed concept of poverty.
conversations about low wages and worker rights
"the original muckracker"
The condition of those "living" on minimum wage debunks "American Dream"
Ehrenreich is
and jocular, yet, at the same time,

Her tone is developed by her usage of
(eg: fat person's hell, I learned through the grapevine) and
attention to detail
(this is unfortunate because hands are utensils here...)
experiences/"data" subject to alteration if not congruent with expectations
analogous to a guinea pig analyzing the effects of a drug on his body

Diction- neutral, concrete, and casual
ex) “citrus fart” “ultraefficient” and “enigmatic”
Selection of Detail- dialogue, anecdotes, and imagery
ex) “Well its good to see you again,” one of them says in greeting. “Hardly anyone comes back after the first day”
“On my third night, she pulls me aside abruptly and brings her face so close that it looks like she’s planning to butt me with her forehead…”
“Picture a fat person’s hell...the cheese fries, the chicken fried steaks, the fudge laden desserts…”

Diction and Selection of Detail

“Almost everyone smokes as if their pulmonary well-being depended on it- the multinational melange of cooks; the dishwashers, who are all Czechs here; the servers, who are American natives- creating an atmosphere in which oxygen is only an occasional pollutant.”

Discussion Questions
Question 5
Ehrenrich's participation in this "experiment" attests to her passion for this cause. Her fervor and impassioned beliefs lead her to sacrifice months of her life planning and executing her study. Her analysis of the life styles of those living on minimum wage is sympathetic but at the same time patronizing and superficial. Ehrenrich is writing for the purpose of prompting reform, therefore the prospect of it being adulterated by bias is not surprising. Furthermore, Ehrenrich allows her self many of the luxuries that are not available to those whose living standards she wishes to emulate. For example, she allows her self to quit her job at Hearthside and does not even consider getting a room mate to defray the cost of rent.
Question 7
Ehrenreich establishes her ethos by using many examples of dialogue to support her essay. This makes her narration irrefutable because it is difficult to deny something that happened when there are direct quotes from people to support it. Because Ehernreich has lived a life of privilege, she knows the comforts that middle class people have and she uses that knowledge to help better connect and eductate her audience, which is most likely people not living in poverty. Ehernreich’s experience as someone in the middle class gives her an advantage in credibility since she is able to tell the difference between living comfortably and living on minimum wage. Her relationship with George provides ethos because she shows George for who is he is as person, “a perfect straight arrow--crew cut, hardworking, and hungry for eye contact,” rather than for what his stereotype might present him as or his position. This indicates credibility because it shows Ehrenreich’s scrupulous judgement of character.

Question 11
While Ehrenreich uses many different types of humor to convey her message, the humor present in this piece is primarily ironic. For example, Ehrenreich points out the fact that there is “always some vital substance missing” in the bathroom, when restaurants are supposed to have strict regulations on things such as hygiene. This is ironic and therefore humorous to the audience. It also forces the audience to realize the reality of the situation to low-income workers and how they cannot even wash their hands properly at their workplace. Ehrenreich also uses sarcasm however she talks about the the physical pain working has caused her and how “if Tylenol doesn’t want to work for more than four hours, you just fire its ass and switch to Aleve.” While her sarcasm here may appear just funny at the surface, it also reveals the feeling of being disposable and replaceable that many low-income workers have, just like the medicines people use.
Question 4
Ehrenreich insists that "the system", not the is to blame for the state of current affairs.
She claims that the attitudes of the workers are simply products of this very system as exhibited characters like Joy, " a plum, blowsy woman in there early thirties" whose otherwise genial demeanor is soured by the socially noxious environment of the restaurant.
Irony: "...the regulation host and the single unisex restroom admonishes us to wash our hands throughly, and even offers instructions for doing so, but there's always some vital substance missing..."

Oxymoron: "pitiful privilege"

Extended Metaphor: "the kitchen is a cavern..."

Imagery: "Put your hand down on any counter and you risk being stuck to it by the film of ancient syrup spills, and this is unfortunate, because hands are utensils here, used for scooping up lettuce onto salad plates, lifting out pie slices, and even moving hash browns from one plate to another. "

Allusion: "like Susan McDougal in leg irons."

Domino Effect

Low wage
overbearing bosses
physical toll
“...[a] repetitive-stress injury in my upper back has come back to full-spasm strength, thanks to the tray carrying. In my ordinary life, this level of disability might justify a day of ice packs and stretching. Here I comfort myself with the Aleve commercial in which the cute blue-collar guy asks: If you quit after working four hours, what would your boss say? And the not-so-cute blue-collar guy, who's lugging a metal beam on his back, answers: He'd fire me, that's what.But fortunately, the commercial tells us, we workers can exert the same kind of authority over our painkillers that our bosses exert over us.
If Tylenol doesn't want to work for more than four hours, you just fire its
ass and switch to Aleve.”
mentally draining
“The only thing to do is to treat each shift as a one-time-only emergency: you've got fifty starving people out there, lying scattered on the
so get out there and feed them!”
lack of amenities
health care
eg: “easy going 50ish Lucey, with a raucous laugh, who limps towards the end of the shift because of something that has gone wrong with her leg, the exact nature of which cannot be determined
without healthcare

disconcerting environment
"the Overseas park is a nest of
crime and crack,

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