In Barbara Ehrenreich's novel, Nickel and Dimed, she highlights various effects of being poor. Due to lack of income, the working poor are forced to face countless hardships including exhaustion and dehumanizing decisions.
The dehumanization of laborers was one of the harshest effects of industrialization. However, workers are not only dehumanized in the workplace. Again, due to lack of money, Ehrenreich has to sacrifice basic civilized instincts in her home. One such example was finding of surface to eat off of, "Eating is tricky without a table. I put the food on the chest of drawers and place a plastic supermarket bag over my lap" (159-160). Drawers for a table, a plastic bag for a tablecloth. Ehrenreich is doing the best she can to provide for herself. However, coming from a well off lifestyle, this must feel unnatural and unnerving. When a basic function such as eating becomes a project, other emotional human parts of you are shut down to satisfy your basic human needs.
Ehrenreich concludes her novel stating, "To be a member of the working poor is to be an anonymous donor, a nameless benefactor, to everyone else" (221). If you are a 'member' of a class of people constantly trying to please others, when do you become a priority? To constantly work in the service of others is frustrating and is perpetuates the notion that one class is set above the other and somehow more worthy of such a lifestyle. To be 'anonymous' and 'nameless' is to be stripped of ones identity. Our capitalistic society has been built on the abuse and dehumanization of vulnerable and desperate workers.