By now you should have carefully read Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickel and Dimed.
Write an analysis of the text, 1,000 words minimum (approximately four double-spaced pages). Your analysis should address how Ehrenreich’s analysis of minimum wage jobs across the United States is relevant in the contemporary American culture.
The essay should be formatted in MLA style in Times New Roman 12-point font with the following header:
Student Name (Always replace with YOUR name)
Instructor: Don Bapst
Due Date: 21 March 2018 (Always replace with the correct due date in this order: number, month spelled out, year)
For this essay, in addition to quoting from Ehrenreich’s text, you should cite at least four other sources. While you may include up to two citations from literary critics/reviewers commenting on Nickel and Dimed, most, if not all of your sources should be scholarly studies examining issues raised in Ehrenreich’s text but in the current socio-economic, cultural context of the present day. Ideally, your essay should highlight one aspect of Ehrenreich’s argument that is particularly relevant to you in one or more of the communities to which you belong.
For this assignment, your will need to identify your target audience. It should be clear from the first lines of your paper to whom you are directing your argument. To choose an audience, ask yourself the question, “Who will benefit from reading Ehrenreich’s book as it either relates directly to their personal struggle with employment or (even better) because they are oblivious to this aspect of the struggle for employment faced by so many?”
Your analysis should include the following:
An introduction that grabs the target audience’s attention, introduces the subject of your paper (in this case the aspect of Ehrenreich’s book you are writing about), and concludes with a thesis statement that describes in one sentence the position you are taking in your analysis. Your thesis should address the question of what techniques and/or features of the writer’s argument make it unique.
At least one paragraph each on the following aspects of the essay:
What is the author’s position? In other words, what is her main point? (Hint, saying that Ehrenreich is all “for” or “against” raising the minimum wage and improving employment standards would be to grossly over-simplify her position, so be very specific.)
Who is the author’s target audience? What techniques does the author use to get their attention and to persuade them?
What type of written techniques does the author use to make her argument? Consider all of the following:
Is the text written in the first, second, or third person or a mixture of these?
What type of language and written forms (essay styles) does the author use to appeal to her audience (formal, informal, conversational, professional, etc.)?
What tone does the writer use and which specific types of language in the text creates her tone? What effect does the author’s tone (along with her style) have on the overall argument?
How does the author use footnotes in a unique way in her argument, and how does this affect the persuasive quality of the text?
How does the writer use sources (if any) in her argument? Though she does not use MLA style as we’ll be using in the class, how does she incorporate her sources into the argument to make it clear to her audience when she is drawing on her sources outside her own personal experience?
A conclusion that very briefly (in one or two sentences) reinforces the main points of your analysis then gives your target audience the sense of where to go next.
While your conclusion can and should begin by recapping your main argument and thesis, you should never merely repeat what you said earlier in the paper. Find a way to give your main point in a fresh and succinct way that draws on the force of the supporting paragraphs that precede the conclusion.
A great conclusion often ends on a call to action. When your paper is the analysis of a work of literature or a written argument, your call to action could be an invitation to discover the work of a writer or an appeal to look more carefully at a work that has been taken for granted. Another great way to conclude any essay is to make sure the conclusion answers the question “So what?” Your audience has listened to your argument, now why should they care?