Poverty has plagued the world since the invention of currency, and it still is a major problem today. Both George Orwell and Barbra Ehrenreich discuss poverty in their books, The Road to Wigan Pier and Nickel and Dimed. Orwell's book was published in 1937 in England for the Left Book Club. Ehrenreich's book was published in 2001 in the United States, which began as a project for Harper's. Even though these books are separated by sixty-four years and the Atlantic Ocean, they both paint a very similar picture of poverty and low wage workers. However, the two books have one key difference; Orwell's Road to Wigan Pier promotes change in the society much more than Ehrenreich's book. .
Orwell uses his vivid descriptions of the miners and their lifestyle in an attempt to provoke change in the society. For example, when describing the town Orwell says,.
"As you walk through the industrial towns you lose yourself in labyrinths of little brick houses blackened by smoke, festering in planless chaos round miry alleys and little cindered yards where there are stinking dustbins and lines of grimy washing and half-ruinous w.c.'s" (Orwell 51).
Through his memorable descriptions of the small miner town, Orwell evokes emotion in the reader. Orwell is trying to get the reader to want to better this society by playing on their emotions. Eherenreich, conversely, does not use detailed descriptions to describe the poor working and/or living conditions of the low wage working class. Ehrenreich mentions the difficulty of the jobs, but only through her own experience. She does not focus on the other low wage workers around her. In her introduction Ehrenreich admits that "[her] aim here was much more straightforward and objective - just to see whether [she] could match income to expenses- (Ehrenreich 6). Ehrenreich is not concerned with trying to evoke emotion in the reader; she is merely telling her story.