To Do Or Not to Do: the question of chores Essay examples

Submitted By Makhya-Curtis
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To Do or Not To Do- The Question of Chores
ENGL101 Composition and Rhetoric
Makhya Curtis

“At worst, a house un-kept cannot be so distressing as a life unlived.” —Rose Macaulay

The idea and definition of housework in American has changed dramatically. With each passing era there is a new way or method of teaching and doing. From the 1920’s the 2000’s, the concept of chores and house work has shifted from parents to children and back again. In today’s fast pasted society, the duty of house work is either left up to the child or the parent. Yet with active children and working parents, whose responsibility is it really? Although we’d all like to believe that “chores” are considered a natural part of family dynamics, the purpose of them is never really defined. Granted, everyone has their own reason for doing things, a “method to the madness” so to say. But Jane Smile presents a very compelling case against chores and their intended purpose. In her short argument “The case Against Chores”, Smiley gives her Idea of the purpose of parents assigning chores. Smiley argues that chores are given for several reasons such as developing a good work habit and contributing to the house hold. However Smiley argues that the practical result never quite turns out to be the intended reason. I cannot say that I completely agree with her, being that I grew up doing chores on a daily bases. I do, however, believe that chores have a purpose but their effectiveness depends on the individual and family. Before you agree or disagree with my position, let me explain. As a child, my parents based my freedom and activities solely on my behavior and responsibility. That being said, I wasn’t exactly a social butterfly, but I did have a strong foundation of what it means to do hard work. Or at least I thought I did. According to Smiley’s, one of the intentions for chores is to develop good work habits (The Case Against Chores, 2). In the house I grew up in, I was always taught that if you worked hard you can play even harder. Housework became a part of my daily routine from the early age of five. First I began with minor dusting and cleaning. Eventually my chores progress to cleaning whole rooms at a time. My mother and grandmother instilled in me that fulfilling your responsibility was the most important thing. I suppose it wasn’t the act of cleaning that proved the point but the purpose behind it. Though at age five I was only dusting with disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer, it wasn’t what I was cleaning but the point that I was learning the meaning of work. In Jane Smiley’s argument she points out that this method more so teaches “…the lesson of alienated labor: not to love the work but to get it over with…” (The Case Against Chores, 2). From childhood to a young adult my attitude toward chores and house work changed drastically without me even knowing. As I entered my teenage years I was not so ready to do the cleaning around the house. Looking back, I can find a certain truth to Smiley’s argument. At that time in my adolescence I dreaded doing chores and house work. I would have much rather been out doing whatever it is that teens do. If I weren’t forced to clean and do chores maybe I would have been more inclined to do them. But the truth is I was forced to do them and it made me resent doing any kind of housework. However with both my parents working and me being the oldest of two (and significantly older than my younger sibling by 10 years), the work had to be done. However I disagree with Smiley in the sense that I did not feel loved only