Comparing The Perfect Family, by Alice Hoffman, The Sanctuary of School, by Lynda Barry, Dog Lab, by Claire McCarthy, and Education by Jake Werner
What we learn at home, at school, from our peers, and from entertainment can have great effects throughout our whole entire lives. There is no such thing as a perfect family, human being, or society, yet we are able to live our lives with the enjoyment of peace and harmony. What we see on television may simulate a perfect family, but, of course, not everything we wish to see is true. Not everyone can have the lives that everyone wants. In reading the essays "The Perfect Family" by Alice Hoffman, "The Sanctuary of School" by ...view middle of the document...
This technique was useful in her essay because if she did not include that history, maybe the reader would not understand the point of writing this essay, or may be confused on what is going on. A historical background can help greatly in helping the reader understand what is going on and can answer some questions to why this essay is being written. Furthermore, another way she is being descriptive is she explains how her mother was like a father because she took care of the house, took out the trash, cared for her, and kept a job. She even gave statistics such as, one out of 19 families is made up of a wage-earner father and a mother who does not work outside the home and consists of two or more children. Everything she wrote about praised her mom. Never once did she mention any of her negative traits or qualities. She is setting it up to make us think that she had the perfect mother and everything was okay. Unfortunately everything is not okay for one reason. Hoffman was not able to have many friends because of her mother's qualities. She says that her friend's father would not allow his own daughter to to hang out with her because she, the author, had a weird family. His reason was that her mom was different than the rest of the other mothers because she took the job of what a father does. Yet, her friend gets beat up by her dad for dating this boy.
At this point, she tries to make the reader sympathize and also create tension in the story. This is a great strategy to use because she was able to position herself in a way that would mend the tension she created. For example; she said,
"There are still places where softball games are played at dusk and roses
grow by the front door. There are families with sons named Bud, with
kind and generous fathers, and mothers who put up strawberry preserves
every June and always have time to sing lullabies. The truth of it was, we
lacked for little."
What this says is other families had everything they needed, but it does not mean that they are better than a mother who works very hard to help her child and herself. Another one of her strategies was to bring the past to the present. She uses empathy to describe the present by saying that she now has children of her own and knows how it feels to be a mother. She knows it is not easy at all. She ends the essay with something a reader is able to think about, such as "The rest, no one can judge." Meaning we should not judge families because it is wrong to judge families when first, it is not your business, and second, it is wrong to compare a family to another when we do not know the family well enough to judge. How are we to say that a family is not qualified to reach our standards in society?
Lynda Barry, writes an essay entitled "The Sanctuary of School" which in, a way is similar to Alice Hoffman's essay. She, too, starts off with her childhood, but her description is not as detailed as Alice...