Essay title: Nickel and Dimed
Nickel and Dimed Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed, was born in 1941 in Oregon State to a copper miner and homemaker.Her father pulled himself out of the copper mines, attending and graduating from Carnegie Mellon University, later being employed as an executive at the Gillette Company. Barbara studied physics at Reed College, graduating in 1963 with a degree in Physics and later received a Ph.D in cell biology from Rockefeller University.
Instead of leading life as a scientist in a lab she became a social scientist of sorts.She is a twice divorced mother of two who has written for publications such as Time, Harper’s, the New York Times, Mother Jones, The Atlantic Monthly, Ms, The New Republic, Z Magazine, In These Times, Salon.com and other publications.She is currently living in Florida.She is also a sixty-six year old survivor of breast cancer. (The Wikepedia Encyclopedia) As previously mentioned Barbara Ehrenreich was educated as a scientist.The book Nickel and Dimed, in itself seems to be a scientific experiment in it’s self.
Barbara begins the book by deciding to live life as a low wage earner through out the United States.Her objective is to see if she can live, pay for housing, food, etc. on a salary of minnimum wage.Her motivation is to see how well welfare reform has really worked through out our country. Barbara Ehrenreich begins the experiment by setting her hypothesis, as in any experiment.Her hypothesis states that she will be able to live on her own in an unknown city by making low wages.
She sets her controls.She is only allowed to spend an allotted amount of her own pre-experiment money, and she has to live in the conditions afforded by her new salary.Barbara Ehrenreich then collects her data throughout the experiment and relays the data through her book.
The difference between this book being a science experiment and a social experiment are apparent also. What makes this experiment unscientific is all of the human error. Several times through the book the author refers to common misconceptions of the working class.She states that many upper class people thought welfare was for lazy baby makers not wanting to get off of the couch.There were the misconceptions about the working class being lazy, thieves, and drug users.
She mentioned the pre-employment drug screenings she was subjected to and also the stealing policies at the Maids. It.