The past is Inevitable

Ariana Chipolone
English 110
Repair r3
September 26, 2016

“Repair Destroys Brokenness.”

Often times we hear in order to fix a relationship you have to own up to what you have done and try to fix what is broken. When offering an apology, you are really seeking to destroy the state of rupture that hovers over the relationship acting as a raincloud, constantly pouring on the two of you reminding you of the ongoing storm. The apology serves as the umbrella, the raincloud is still in the sky, but the umbrella makes sure that the relationship is unaffected by the storm. In other words, even though repair destroys what was once broken, the raincloud, or the past, will always hover over, serving as a reminder to what was once broken.

I have always been the type of person who tries to forgive and forget when someone sincerely offers an apology trying to repair what they have done. Even though I chose to forgive a person, the memory of what they had done will always stay with me in the back of my mind. The brokenness that the person caused in the relationship isn’t just repaired from an apology. I think that Spelman may be wrong when she says that repair terminates what is broken, but rather time is the real remedy to heal a relationship. As human beings, we undergo a myriad of situations where relationships are tested and people hurt one another. Coming from the side of the person who is in the wrong, an apology is necessary to repair the relationship, as long as the person is willing to accept. Just because the situation that occurred is repaired, doesn’t mean that the person truly is at ease with what happened. The past will always follow the relationship and stay in the minds of both of the people. For instance, do you ever notice how when you get into a fight with someone, often times the past is brought back into the present, even when it was already settled and repaired? This is because the past has a connection with the repair of things, there can’t be repair without bringing up the past. People may forgive what had happened and come to terms with the situation, but they will never forget or leave the past in the past because of the memory.

Moreover, Spelman writes this short and sweet sentence to simplify what the purpose and role of repair is for. It means exactly what it says, when something is broken, repair can fix it: However, when talking about a human being, rather than an object, how does one know if the repair actually destroyed not just the physically aspect, but the emotional aspect of the brokenness done. How can a person who suffered through the Holocaust or someone who lost a loved one ever really return to a basic state of functioning if the memory is forever apart of them? These questions really depend on how mentally and emotionally willing a person is to go through life as Spelman would say, at a “basic state of functioning.” Cars basic state of functioning require them to be able to bring people from one place to another. Humans on the other hand are more complex and the question “Can a person ever achieve a functioning state” is something to consider. Not only can emotional healing such as relationships come into affect, but physical injuries can put an emotional toll on the way a person functions, even after the repair. Tearing my ALC, makes me validate that repair isn’t what heals brokenness, but time does. After my surgery and the months that I had to go through in order to heal, I still am not back at where I want to be. The old me was carefree, adventurous, and up for any challenge when it came to competition. My leg is healed and I was “cleared” to be back to normal, but the mental aspect of the injury and the memory will always stay with me, making it almost impossible to ever truly get back to being myself. Now when ever I watch, think, or try to play the sport that caused me the suffering, both physically and emotionally, I think about the memory of becoming broken. Sports injuries happen all the time and many athletes recover into even better athletes than they were before. The repair didn’t make them stronger, but rather the time they needed to get over what had happened and come to terms with their circumstance. Every person is different and it all depends on the time your mind needs to feel at ease with the past, taking the brokenness that hovers over you, and seeing it as something that made you stronger.


Ariana Chipolone
English 110
11 September 2016

Throughout chapters four and five of Repair, Spelman discusses the different ways people seek justice, and how justice can mean one way to someone than it can to another person. Spelman stressed the concepts of restorative healing versus retributive punishment showing the beneficial aspects as well as negative impacts of both repairs. In chapter five, Spelman discusses the argument between apology and monetary reparations, one in which a “sorry” is necessary while the other one requires no verbal apology. In our society, there are a myriad of times that an apology of some sort is needed to fix or move on from a situation and the type of reparation given is based on the circumstance given.
Sometimes, sorry just doesn’t cut it when a person isn’t willing to forgive. In this case, the type of apology needed won’t offer forgiveness, but rather a monetary repair. These “payers” know that they are in the wrong, but also know that the victim isn’t as welcome to an apology due to the emotional coolness of a reparation. Even if the payers aren’t the ones who caused the damage in the first place, they are trying to make right without the presence of sorrow or guilt. Being charged for the responsibility to make wrong right concludes monetary reparations, or,“The necessary transaction as such extracts nothing from them other than money, whatever their emotions happen to be”(81).For example, history has shown events, such as the interment of Japanese Americans, that can’t be fixed with merely an apology. The lives of these Japanese Americans forever were effected by the horrible conditions, physically and emotionally, at the internment camps. As a result of this, America responded by giving monetary reparations to those families who were affected by the camps. The monetary reparation that was given doesn’t solve the issue that happened in the past but rather confirms that wrongdoing that occurred in the past. Spelman adds to this idea when she wrote:

“If reparations means from the side of the payers not having to say you’re sorry, it also means from the side of the payees not being called upon to forgive, not being pressed to forgo resentment.”(82)

Differentiating from monetary reparations, Spelman discusses the meaning and terms that an apology requires. To start, an apology consists of one person acknowledging the responsibility of his or her actions: However, an expression of sorrow and regret over this action is required as well.When someone does me wrong, I expect the person to truly be sincere and mean what they say when they use the cliche phrase, “I’m sorry”. Spelman describes an apology when she writes,“To apologize to someone is to say that there is a harm worth attending to, in a relationship worth mending, a rule worth honoring, a community worth preserving.”(83)Apologies are heavy things and hold a lot of meaning toward them. Not only is an apology deeply personal, but also it is a two way street. You can’t have a relationship with someone who doesn’t want to continue and forgive. This “gift” of an apology has to be welcomed by the victim and is “an invitation to share in a ritual of repair, in a dance that takes more than one dancer.”(85) Spelman writes on how a single human being can break or do harm to a relationship, but in order to fix it, two people must be willing to work it out. On a personal note, I have had people in my life do me wrong and say the phrase “sorry.” I didn’t feel that the apology was meaningful or that the person was regretful of their actions so I decided to step away from that relationship and not accept the repair that was being presented to me. To conclude what Spelman is trying to stress, an apology doesn’t solve relationships without the victim being willing to accept it and move on. It isn’t the same type of reparation as a monetary reparation because it involves closure, sorrow, and responsibility to own up to the wrongdoing on an emotional level.


R1 Draft

Ariana Chipolone
English 110
11 September 2016

We live in a world constantly in need of repair. This repair that is ubiquitous in our society can range from fixing a hole in a sock to mending a relationship that ended. As Homo sapiens, or Homo reparans as Spelman calls us in his book Repair, we have a tendency to try and “repair,” sometimes without even knowing we are. Throughout Repair, Spelman compares the similarities between repairing cars and repairing people. The analogy she creates is intriguing but also questionable due to the complexity of a human being.
The goal of repairing a car is to make use of it again to have it in working condition, however, what is the goal of repairing people? Spelman believes that the correlation between the repair of humans and cars is to return them back to a basic state of functioning. She writes,

“The analogy between the repair of a car and the repair of a person suggests that there is a kind of repair of humans that restores them to a state of basic functioning, of being able to use their energies and skills as they see fit” (36).

This suggests that like cars, humans have the ability to get back to how they once were. By definition basic functioning is restoring something to some kind of functional state, but, what does a person look like or act like at a functional state? Cars at a functional state are cruising down a highway or street in order to get people from one place to the next. People on the other hand are constantly changing and reacting to different circumstances resulting to a repair that isn’t as guaranteed as it is for a car.
During my senior year of high school, I had a season-ending injury to my left knee. I ended up tearing my ACL which required a surgical procedure and a very long recovery to get back to walking and being active again. The physical repair of my ACL was the first step to the road of recovery, but, there were many more steps to come. Just as engines can break and stop a car from moving, muscles can tear stopping a human from moving. Spelman explains the relationship of cars and humans stating,

“So than like cars human beings wear and tear, like cars human need not just maintenance but repair if they are to keep on functioning” (35).

Months of physical therapy strengthened my knee and helped me get back to a functioning state: However, this functioning state didn’t get me back to my normal self. Even though my knee was repaired and I was able to walk again, the fear of playing a sport still haunts me. Unlike humans, cars can’t overthink or second guess their abilities. With a fully functioning leg, mentally I still felt I needed healing, and that healing doesn’t have a definite time period. Going through the painful and emotional experience I went through made me afraid of doing what I loved to do most, which was playing basketball. Even after the repair of my knee and getting back to a functional state, I still was unsure of my strength and my skills. According to Spelman, “A young person’s confidence in her abilities has been shattered”(35). Even though cars and humans need repair to get back to a functional state, I believe that Spelman needs to take into consideration how the human mind can come into play with repair.