What Makes a House a Home

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The two essays, “I want a wife” (Brady, 1971) and “Homeless” (Quindlen, n.d.) both resonate with readers on different levels. This essay will compare and contrast the narrative and descriptive essay forms and argue that although “I want a wife” uses humor in an effective narrative style, the imagery used in “Homeless” evokes more powerful feelings in the reader regarding stability and belonging making it a more compelling essay.
Judy Brady’s narrative style in “I want a wife” uses sarcasm quite effectively to portray her personal experience as a wife. She graphically details the conventional marital division of labor while subtly highlighting the inequities. However disparate these spousal duties seem to be, they form a nearly universal representation of a traditional household. Brady enumerates all the elements of a working household: the cooking, cleaning, organizing, scheduling and nurturing of family. She clearly implies that without a wife, the household would cease to function. Also, that the very label of “wife” brings with it all the duties and responsibilities listed.
Throughout the essay, only action words are used in relation to the wife; in fact, it is as if the word “wife” were actually a verb instead of a noun. The home described by Brady is comprised of activity alone. The sum of these activities creates the home. The wife embodies the duties, ergo, the wife is the home. As Brady says, “who wouldn’t want a wife?”
In the descriptive essay “Homeless”, Anna Quindlen relies on common history instead of humor to engage her audience. Her vivid depiction of what being without a home means plays a symphony of emotions in the reader. In “Homeless”, it is the tangible items that that prove w...

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...r hand, “Homeless” employs vivid imagery, universal desires and not so secret fears to strike a chord we all recognize. By definition, the narrative essay is a retelling of an event or experience whereas a descriptive essay draws on detailed imagery to forge a connection with the subject matter. The careful use of language and symbolism in descriptive writing serves to quickly engage the reader in the topic. In contrast, narration can feel impersonal which allows the reader to remain disengaged. For these reasons, “Homeless” is the more compelling essay and the descriptive essay is far superior to narration.

Works Cited

Brady, J. (1971). I want a wife. Retrieved from http://bcs.bedfordstmartins.com/everythingsanargument4e/content/cat_020/Brady_I_Want_a_Wife.pdf
Quindlen, A. (n.d.). Homeless. Retrieved from http://pers.dadeschools.net/prodev/homelesstext.htm

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