What Makes a House a Home, Judy Brady Essay examples

What Makes a House a Home, Judy Brady Essay examples

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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 yet cover much of the same topic. While both of these essays discuss traditional values and home, they do so in vastly different ways. “I want a wife” focuses on the mechanics and operations of a household. The wife personifies the home. However, the descriptive essay “Homeless” concentrates on the emotions that personalize a home nearly to the point of giving the house itself living characteristics. 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 experience as a wife. Brady 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. The author 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 wife in question will work, pay, wash, mend, arrange, clean, iron, and plan. The one thin...

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...omeless” echoes our most fundamental needs and beseeches our aid. 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, Brady’s narration feels impersonal which allows the reader to remain disengaged. For these reasons, “Homeless” is the more compelling essay.

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
Merriam-Webster Dictionary (2014). Retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gestalt
Quindlen, A. (n.d.). Homeless. Retrieved from http://pers.dadeschools.net/prodev/homelesstext.htm

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