Teacher Guide

Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America Lesson Plan

Introduction to Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America

Before beginning the project that would eventually lead to the publication of Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By In America, Barbara Ehrenreich was already a well-known and highly-regarded journalist. She was leading a comfortable upper-middle-class life as a well-respected high-brow writer. Though she comes from blue-collar roots, as she explains in the book's introduction, she only thought of doing this investigative report on the realities of low-wage work during a lunch with the editor of Harper’s.

The experiences Ehrenreich explores in her book immediately caught the attention of journalists, economists, and sociologists, among others, reminding many of old-school undercover...

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