To Buy A Computer,” in the 1987 edition of Harper’s, Wendell Berry was critiqued by readers who felts he was using his wife as a “drudge. ” Berry writes that, “My wife types my work. She sees things that are wrong and marks them with small checks in the margins. She is my best critic because she is the one most familiar with my habitual errors and weaknesses.
She also understands, sometimes better than I do, what ought to be said. ” (Pg. 180) But his readers seemed to miss this. To make a full response to them, Berry writes “Feminism, The Body, and the Machine. ” Through his use of quotation marks, tone, and diction, Berry defines and defends his marriage. He illustrates the ironies in how we think and live that have turned us from a sense of mutual belonging to one of individual ownership. Quotation marks can be used to imply a different meaning than a word would normally be associated with. Marriage, in what is evidently its most popular version, is now on the one hand an intimate ‘relationship’ between two successful careerists in the same bed…” (Pg. 180) The word relationship tends to have a positive connotation because typically, it’s used to describe friendships, lovers, husbands and wives, mothers and daughters. The word implies something good, something sacred, and something intimate. However, Berry puts the word in quotation marks to essentially make the statement that this particular relationship is a lie.
The relationship is not truly a relationship if each partner’s focus is on himself or herself. The same idea is applied to ‘… the ‘married’ couple will typically consume a large quantity of merchandise and a large portion of each other. ” (Pg. 180) Marriage insinuates a helpful attitude between a husband and wife, a giving rather than taking. The definition of “consume” means to destroy. Comparing it to marriage confirms that Berry believes the world’s idea of marriage is a lie.
After defining marriage’s most popular version, he writes to confirm that there are some marriages that still believe in the household as an economy. “To them, ‘mine’ is not so powerful or necessary a pronoun as ‘ours. ’” (Pg. 181) While he doesn’t allude to a different meaning with this use of quotation marks, he does use them to continue to differentiate between his marriage and the rest. “Ours” means sharing, giving, and working together in a way to allows for quality time and growth within the home.
Berry uses tone to undermine and expose the logic of his detractors. “Their accusation rests on a syllogism of the flimsiest sort…” (Pg. 180) Here, Berry uses a mix of sarcasm and a mocking attitude to make his point against the readers. Speaking in regards to their comments, he writes “… the sort of razor-sharp philosophical distinction that could cause a person to be elected president. ” (Pg. 179) By mocking them right off the bat, Berry disarms the comments he can’t bother to take seriously before he defends the things that do take priority.
Moving onto a paternal tone, Berry says “It is clear to me from my experience as a teacher, for example, that children need an ordinary daily association with both parents. ” (Pg. 182) He takes on this tone because aside from defining his marriage, he also takes responsibility for educating the people he’s responding to and the people that are reading. I find that Berry uses a lot of irony in his essay. He makes an interesting statement early on in his essay where he says his “offense” is that he receives help from his wife. Most often, an offense implies a breaking of a social or moral rule.
The readers believe that help in a marriage is the same as exploitation or subservience. The irony is that having something uncommon, such as a marriage where the focus is mutual help rather than subservience doesn’t mean a moral rule is being broken. It simply means that Berry and his wife work together rather than using each other. Speaking on feminists, Berry uses irony by writing, “That feminists or any other advocates of human liberty and dignity should resort to insult and injustice is regrettable. ” This statement could arguably be the most ironic of them all.
Because advocates of human liberty are standing for fairness and equal rights to all people, it is more than regrettable that they would lower themselves to attacking Berry. It contradicts what they supposedly stand for. Berry redefines words to make the reader truly understand his thoughts. “… Involving (ideally) two successful careerists in the same bed…” (Pg. 180) The word “career” is most often associated with people who put their job before anything else. “I can’t date, I’m really into my career right now. ” It’s an implication that it’s more important than relationship.
Using the word “bed” strips away all ideas of intimacy and love. Later, Berry writes, “… a prolonged and impassioned negotiation as to how things shall be divided. ” Berry uses to the word “impassioned” to imply a lot more than just the long process of divorce; he’s saying that passion is only really shown when assets are being divided. Marriage involves vaguely sharing your bed with that guy from that one time, and divorce is when you remember how many times he forgot to make his side of the bed. It’s what works for that time, and Berry knows it.
After laying out the common beliefs of marriage, Berry writes on what marriage ought to be in regards to the household as an economy. He doesn’t necessarily compare it to an actual economy so much as say that in order for a marriage to function well, each must do their part. He goes into some detail about working outside the home versus working inside the home, but I think his primary focus involves “… the work of both wife and husband, that gives them a measure of economic independence and self-protection, a measure of self-employment, a measure of freedom, as well as a common ground and a common satisfaction. (Pg. 181) It’s all about working in harmony with one another.
Careers aren’t as important as jobs within the home. Berry knows that what you do isn’t nearly as important why and how you do it. Wendell Berry’s essay, “Feminism, the Body, and the Machine,” focuses in part on marriage with his wife and marriage in its most popular version. His use of stylistic devices shows more than what is written and implies deeper meaning that rounds off his stance.
Women in Criminal Justice
Women in Criminal Justice.
Find information concerning a substantial type of international violence against women. Give a detailed description of the offense, how often it occurs and where it occurs (definition, frequency, prevalence, location). What can/should be done to stop this form of violence (legal and/or social policy)? What role does the US currently play in ending international violence against women? What else do you believe could be done to stop your chosen form of violence (suggestions for the future)?
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