“The Human being is a repairing animal,” is the first sentence in Elizabeth Spelman’s Repair. The human being is indeed a lot of things. We eat, we breathe, we sleep, and we repair. Repair may seem like such a small, unimportant thing on the large scale of things. It may seem as if eating, breathing, and sleeping are way more necessary in life, but the reality is that those are the subsections of Repair. See, eating, breathing, and sleeping are ways that our body repairs itself. If we didn’t do those things, we would eventually die or get sick. Damage is bound to happen at any given place, at any given time in the world. Things happen all the time. People break things, people get sick or injured, people fight and feelings get hurt. These things are all very different from each other when you look deeper into it. Objects get broken and they can be fixed almost always very easily. If its something like a bike or a car a mechanic can look at the problem and use tools to fix it. If someone is sick, they go to the doctor and are prescribed medicine to get better and if they are injured they can wear a cast or use crutches until they are better. When it comes to relationships, people do fight and when that happens apologies can be used to make things better. Long story short: when damage occurs, repair is needed.
Elizabeth Spelman does a great job of explaining the importance of repair and different ways us as humans are always using repair in our lives. She explains different gender roles and tools used by each gender. In chapter 1, Spelman looks deeply into the different kinds of repair. She introduces us to people and the types of repair that they use in their every day lives. She links the different types of repair to the different characters in the book that she introduces to us, which gives the reader a different outlook. I found this interesting because I never really realized that there could even be types of repair. In chapter 2, she gets into detail explaining how women and men both repair, but do so in different ways and use different “tools,” in their repair work.
Indeed for the most part, women are much more likely to appear in pinup calendars in the offices and shops of repairmen-mechanics, plumbers, and carpenters, cobblers and so forth-than as partners in such work- Spelman, 27
She goes into how women are repairers of many things in the household, whether it be relationship mending, or heeling the family. They use words as their tools, unlike men who are almost always linked to jobs such as mechanics and carpenters who use actual tools to repair real-life tangible objects. This is interesting because I do think of women as emotional repairers, but not only that. She goes into the past which links us to slavery and women’s rights and how it makes sense if you look at it Spelman’s way. For example, the first person that came to mind is my mother. I do not only think of her as an emotional repairer, I think of her as a hardworking teacher as well. My mother works extremely hard outside of the household. She is a teacher and a coach at a local gym. Sure, she does a lot of repair and she is a great woman of words who is a great problem solver, but she also is an extremely hard worker and I feel as if Spelman did not really mention that aspect of women’s work and outside jobs in her writing.
In chapter 3, Spelman explains how women are linked to care ethics, which I definitely agree with. Spelman has an interesting way on looking on the different aspects of gender roles. Before reading, I was never really one to separate men and women and categorize them into different jobs and tasks or assign them to “tools.” When I have been in situations in my life where I needed repair and someone has helped me, I never really thought of the way that I was being repaired or helped. If I had thought about this before, it would have made more sense to me what Spelman was saying. Going back to chapter 1 when Spelman introduced us to Willie, Fred, Louise, Elisabeth, and Irene. They all had different methods of repair and wanted their objects to be repaired in different ways. Willie wanted to fix the item so that they would work again, Fred wanted to turn them back to their original state, and the girls wanted to fix the items with as little work done possible, so it was not obvious that it was fixed. I found this very interesting because I would have never even realized the different types of repair that exist.
Overall, Repair is an intriguing book so far and Spelman does a great job at explaining how although damage is inevitable, repair is always possible. And although relationships are always going through struggles, objects always need to be fixed, and people are always getting sick, there is always a way to mend.