Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
- Full Title: Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America
- When Written: 1998-2000
- Where Written: United States (Florida, Maine, Minnesota)
- When Published: 2001 (with an afterword from 2008)
- Literary Period: Contemporary
- Genre: Reportage/Memoir
- Setting: Key West, Florida; Portland, Maine; Minneapolis, Minnesota
- Climax: Each chapter has its own climax, but one scene in Maine is particularly climactic. After growing increasingly frustrated with the way her team leader at The Maids, Holly, must stoically work through dizziness, pain, and stress, Barbara screams into the phone at her boss, Ted, fuming at his willingness to put profits above the well-being of his workers.
- Antagonist: In general, Barbara’s antagonist is economic culture in America, which accepts the acute distress of low-wage work as a given. She recognizes that such an antagonist is intangible and difficult to pin down, so she constructs more material antagonists in her bosses, including Ted and Howard, as well as the more faceless corporations for which she works.
- Point of View: First person
Seeing Things? Though Ehrenreich calls herself an atheist in Nickel and Dimed, she describes her experiences of mysticism and “seeing God” as an adolescent in her most recent book, Living With a Wild God.