R3: Beyond Repair

Andrew Botti

Professor Harris

English 110

26 September 2016

Beyond Repair

In Chapter 6 of Repair Spelman explains that there are some situations in which reparation simply cannot be achieved. There are many physical situations that can be pointed out where there is simply no form of repair that could be very effective. Spelman uses the examples of 9/11 and certain ruins from ancient times. There are also many emotional breaks that can be far beyond repair. Aside from the physical damage 9/11 inflicted on the city of New York, the emotional damage reached far greater heights. Spelman dives deeply into the idea that there can be no reparation or redemption for certain situations because of the intense seriousness of those situations. However, although these certain things cannot be repaired or redeemed, that does not mean we must attach a negative connotation to these breaks. Some people celebrate what once was instead of trying to rebuild to what used to be. Although repair is always a goal when there are breaks, Spelman does an exceptional job of explaining how repair cannot always be accomplished.

Many times we face very serious physical breaks that are far beyond reparation. When someone’s house burns down, people know fairly well that the house and the belongings inside of it are far beyond repair. However some people enjoy celebrating what something was before the serious break. These celebrations or monuments to such physical breaks are called “ruins.” A modern example of a ruin was mentioned in Chapter 6 of Repair in relation to the attack on the World Trade Center in September of 2001. The idea of keeping the ruins of the World Trade Center was suggested by Herbert Muschamp of the New York Times.

“We will probably see no more eloquent reminder of that day [September 11, 2001] than the twisted steel walls that at present rise from the wreckage of the World Trade Center… The conflict was as much over meaning as it was over access. The police represented the view that the wreckage is now cartage. To the firefighters, it is sacred space, at least until they have fulfilled their duty to recover the victims’ remains.”

Muschamp searched for a way to find beauty in the disaster that was 9/11 and the horrible aftermath of the attacks. Although it may have been a weirder idea of ruins, the premise was the same.

The September 11 terrorist attacks are a good example of irreparable damage in both physical and emotional ways because of the ways that each are far beyond repair. Having already touched on the physical aspect of the damage, the emotional damage was far greater. For years since 9/11 New Yorkers have lived in fear of follow up terrorist attacks. All over the city signs displaying the words, “See Something, Say Something,” are posted pleading for people to report any suspicion of terrorism they may have. Families who lost loved ones on that horrific day are still impacted by the tragic loss of their family members. How can one repair the break of the loss of a loved one? There is no replacing that family member or bringing them back from the dead. There is simply the memories you have of that person that you may cherish, which could also represent an emotional type of ruins. There are some emotional and physical breaks that are far beyond repair and Spelman does a fantastic job of explaining that concept.

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R2: Apology and Repair

Andrew Botti

Professor Harris

English 110

19 September 2016

Apology and Repair

Spelman explains the similarities and differences of apology and repair pertaining to relationships in Chapter Five of Repair. Apology seems to be the much more common method of attempting to repair broken relationships than actual action is. Usually when someone hurts someone emotionally the first thing they do in order to attempt to soothe the emotional distress is to apologize most commonly with, “I’m sorry.” The words, “I’m sorry,” are uttered in an attempt to allow the person that has been the victim of the emotional distress that you have remorse for what you have done to them. However, it is not an action attempting to repair the pain that has been inflicted. For example, if I were to trip somebody walking past me and notice that their knee is bleeding and I apologized for what I had done, it would not have the same impact as it would if  I were to get that person a bandage or any other kind of assistance. In many situations most people would appreciate an actual attempt at helping to mend the break more than an apology. This is why we hear the saying, “Actions speak louder than words.”  Apology can be a type of repair but it is not the only way to repair relationships that have been broken and are in need of mending.

Spelman explains the issue of apology as a type of repair in Chapter Five. In some situations, people could find apology to be somewhat insincere or ingenuine. Whereas an action actively shows that the person is making an attempt to repair what had been broken in the relationship. Spelman says on page 82:

“In order to apologize — really apologize, and not just utter some words — for something one has done or failed to do, one has not only to acknowledge responsibility for but express sincere sorrow and regret over this action or inaction.”

The way Spelman explains it, there seems to be a lot that goes into a true and honest apology.

Most people have experience apology in one way or another. Nobody goes through any relationships without a little break in need or repair no matter how big or small. When I was younger, my idea of apology was twisted into an idea that it was just words. I felt that I could do whatever I want as long as afterwards I said, “I’m sorry.” Most of these situations involved my little brother. My brother had the same idea of apology that I did. Growing up, me and my brother would argue and bicker all the time mostly because we didn’t understand the idea of apology and repair. When I did something wrong to my brother I would sarcastically apologize just to spite him and expect everything to be okay. In return, he would do the exact same back to me. This way of apology creates a toxic environment to have a relationship in. However, we were young children and not all children have the maturity to figure out and accept this concept. Most people can relate back to the idea of apology in either a positive or a negative way.

Apology is one type of repair that we all use commonly and Spelman does a fantastic job of breaking the idea down and explaining it as the bigger concept that it truly is. Action versus apology was a simple yet fascinating idea for Spelman to touch on because we face this decision so commonly. Spelman does a great job of relating to readers by touching on types of repair that we had not even recognized were attempts at reparation in the first place. After reading Chapter Five, everyone gets an idea of whether they would rather have someone take action in an attempt to show apology or whether they would just accept a verbal apology. Personally, I usually accept a verbal apology as I find myself to be a fairly forgiving person. However, if a person were to go out of their way to do something in order to help the issue at hand or show their apology I would be much more appreciative. Apology is apart of our life and is a great form of reparation but it is up to the people apologizing to choose how they would like to express their apology.

R1: Women and Men

Andrew Botti

English 110

Professor Harris

12 September 2016

Response #1

Of all the topics that Elizabeth Spelman touched on in the first three chapters of Repair, the most interesting and relevant of them all was Spelman’s take on jobs for women and men in the third chapter of the book. On the surface, Spelman seems to be explaining that some jobs are considered to be specifically for women or specifically for men. However, Spelman did an exceptional job of showing the bias of that kind of thinking. In the third chapter, she explains that jobs that are performed with tools are considered to be more of a “man’s job,” while jobs that pertained to relationships or people were considered a “woman’s job.” This type of thinking appears blatantly unfair to both genders.

On page 28 of the book Spelman quotes an introduction for a book directed toward women. The quote was the following:

The fact is that women don’t have to be unhandy. They are not inherently nonmechanical; they have been educationally deprived by their society and then trained to believe that their aptitude is low. What is most needed is authoritative assurance that “educationally deprived” does not mean “uneducable,” and that, in general, the business of making repairs is far easier than most women believe.

This quote explains why women are commonly perceived as being incapable of performing jobs that are usually done by men. It explains that they are not given the necessary information and knowledge to be able to pursue and succeed at a man’s job. The quote also seems to be explaining that most women do not have the confidence to do a man’s job because they are so often told that they cannot. Women have commonly faced this issue for decades now and continue to do so to this day.

Although Spelman explains that there is a misconception about what jobs women can do, she also explains that there is a misconception about the jobs that men can do. In the book it was explained that the common conception is that women can’t do jobs with tools and men cannot do jobs that involve relationships or emotion. Who is to say that a man cannot perform a job that involves relationships? All human beings have emotions and all most likely have different kinds of relationships. Women are more commonly perceived as being the more compassionate gender, but that does not mean men do not feel compassion for others. Men are just as capable as women are of repairing a relationship when repair is needed. There is no such thing as a “man’s job,” or a “woman’s job.” There are only jobs that are more commonly performed by men or commonly performed by women.

The topic of the stereotypes between men and women is a very relevant topic, which is why Spelman touching on it caught my eye. Women’s rights has been highlighted in our society for many years now and the fight for female equality is still ongoing. Spelman’s explanation for why there are certain misconceptions for each gender was in depth and very true. It’s an old fashioned style of thought. In the world we live in today there shouldn’t be men afraid to show compassion or women that feel inferior to men. Each gender should be able to chase whatever it is they are going after and Spelman does a great job of explaining this. The topic of stereotyping men and women was the one topic that really made an impact on my thought process through the first three chapters of Repair.