Teacher Guide

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

Relationship to Other Books

Nickel and Dimed is part of into the long and important tradition of “muckraking” in American journalism: writers investigate problematic social conditions and corrupt organizations, sometimes going undercover, in order to promote reform. During the Progressive Era in early 20th-century America, a number of important muckraking exposés came to the forefront of the broader social consciousness. One of the most famous was Jacob Riis’s How the Other Half Lives, published in 1890, which used photojournalism to show the horrendous conditions suffered by immigrants in New York City’s slums. Another important muckraking journalistic exposé from this era was Upton Sinclair’s 1906 The Jungle, in...

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