Michael Harrington’s The Other America: Poverty in the United States (1962) and Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickel and Dimed are excellent pieces of writing on the issue of poverty in the United States of America that were written in different periods of time but share similar features in terms of content and public appeal. Harrington’s book was seen as a driving force behind the emanation of the legislation, war on poverty, proposed by the U.S president Lyndon B. Johnson. The book was penned down in the economic depression after the Second World War where he makes a clear case that it is the moral responsibility of the state to solve the gigantic issue of poverty. Ehrenreich, on the other hand, applies the notion of being nickel and dimed to the low income individuals.
The two authors address the issue of poverty and the poor in more or less a same way. The notion of poverty and the poor defined by the two authors is the same. Both of them attempt to arouse the public opinion and sentiments by targeting the non poor members and groups in a society. The reform tradition of the past is criticized by the two authors as it presents the image of the poor as those who rush towards the relief offices which is a fatuous fact itself. They call an acute need for reform by the government as well as the need to see the poor as visible individuals of the society by the non poor. They hold the view that the culture of poverty deforms dignity and spirit and thrushes the people towards petty work conditions.
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