The author is the main grandee of this book. Ehrenreich begins with various disclaimers to distinguish her work from some sort of an actor’s work. She does this by aligning herself to scientists and not performers. The most important theme of this book is poverty. She starts by stating that her parents could not provide for them when they were young. The author goes on to describe their home which also shows how poor her parents were. When the author grows up, she gets employed but still continues to live in poverty because she does not earn enough to sustain her. This is shown when she says that she could not pay her rent in time and sometimes she went without lunch. The description of her living environment also suggests that there other many poor people apart from her (Ehrenreich 43).
The theme of exploitation comes out clearly at the place work. Employees work very long hours with little pay. The author worked at Key WestFlorida as a waitress where she worked night and day without being given time off. She also worked in Portland Orchard beach as a cleaner and a nursing assistant. She states that employers are the most people who exploit others. Being a junior employee at Orchard beach, she worked very hard but her salary never increased (Chazelle 23). She also states the working conditions as not being good. Tax is also very high and this she accuses the Government for not being fare in their taxation system. The rich who evade paying tax exploit the poor who pay all their taxes.
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Hunger is also a major problem to the poor and the middle class in this society. The author has on various occasions gone without food. She has also constantly referred to other members of the society who are not able to put food on the table. Citing malnutrition among the urban poor also shows that many people are not healthy because they cannot feed themselves properly (Ehrenreich 62). A part from poverty other causes of hunger stated are bad Governance and poor harvests in agricultural sector. The author has stated hunger as being a major setback in the economic growth. She says she could not work well while hungry and so is everybody.
The last theme in the book is homelessness. The author remembers the days she worked as an associate at wall-mart in Minneapolis. She describes the conditions as being close to homelessness. This was mainly because with the little salary she got, it was difficult for her to get a decent house. She says that she changed three different locations in order to get a better place she could stay. She goes on to blame the Government for not providing enough housing for its citizens. The poor and the middle class stay in houses that are rented since they cannot afford their own homes (Chazelle 51). The poor conditions of the house further depict poverty.