Where There is Damage There is Repair- A Take 2 on R1

“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.

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Apology and Linking it to Repair

The word apology is defined as, “a regretful acknowledgement of an offense or failure.” Simple as that, and never really looked much deeper into. If you accidentally bump into someone, you apologize. If you spill a drink on someone’s shirt, you apologize. If you get into an accident while driving your parents car, you apologize. That is just the nature of things. The words “I’m sorry,” seem to slip off the tongue so easily, we don’t even think about it most times. The examples listed above are small examples of things that can occur all the time in the motion of life. People make mistakes all the time and for most mistakes we think we can use the words “I’m sorry,” to fix them.

In chapter 5 Spelman really focuses on apology and how apology is a form of repair, but what constitutes a real apology?

“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…it must be clear that he regrets what he has done and feels sorrow over what he has wrought,” (Spelman, 82-83).

According to Spelman the words “I’m sorry” do not constitute a real apology. The person who is apologizing must sincerely know what they are apologizing for and express regret. She also states that apology is only used for harm. If there is no harm, there is no need for an apology. “Apology is inappropriate if what one has done does not really constitute damage,” (83). She explains how apologies have two sides and that the apology is the repair, but the forgiveness of the apology is the other part of it. “An apology is an invitation to share in a ritual of repair, in a dance that takes more than one dancer,” (85). Spelman is saying that situations where humans need repair are a completely different story than when an object such as a car needs repair. She states how a car does not need forgiveness in order to be fixed, but human relationships do. Both parties have an input in the repair process and if the person being apologized to does not forgive, then there really is no repair.

This is important in situations where an apology cannot make things better. Such as 9/11, the Holocaust, or going back in the past to when slavery existed. An apology is not going to make the horrible memories go away, or people’s loved ones come back to life. An apology in cases like these are meaningless. Sometimes somebody taking action and speaking for a group of people can make things better, but still does not repair the harm placed on the victims. For example, Spelman states how President Bill Clinton was not responsible for the horrors that black men went through when their syphilis intentionally was untreated during the four decades of the Tuskegee Study (1930s to 1970s), but in 1997 he apologized to the survivors and their families on behalf of the American people. Obviously this does not repair what the victims went through at the time, but it makes things better and proves that a group of people believe what happened was not okay.

Spelman introduced me to a new view on apologies.  I never looked much into the two simple words that we say all the time, on a daily basis. “I’m sorry,” in fact does not have much meaning behind it at all. A real apology comes from the heart and even sometimes a real apology cannot mend the wounds created in the past or wounds that are too big to be healed on such easy terms. Apologies are extremely important when it comes to repair and I know most times we think we can just say sorry, but there are different levels to repair needed and sometimes sorry is not enough.

 

Where There is Damage There is Repair

Damage is bound to happen at any given place, at any given time in the world. When damage occurs, repair is needed. Whether it be repairing a tangible object such as a car or clothing or something intangible like emotions, relationships, or heeling someone’s feelings, repair is always necessary. Elizabeth Spelman does a great job of explaining the importance of repair and different ways us as humans are always using repair and how we do it. She explains different gender roles and tools used by each gender.In chapter 1, Spelman looks into the different kinds of repair. I found this interesting because I never thought of there being different types of repair. She links the different types of repair to different people in the book that she introduces to us, which gives the reader a different outlook. In chapter 2, she deeply goes into detail explaining how women and men both repair, but do so in different ways and use different “tools”. 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 mostly linked to jobs such as mechanics and carpenters, use actual tools to repair real-life 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.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 of 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. I found this very interesting because I never would have looked at them this way. 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 humans are always going through struggles, and cars may always be falling apart, there is always a way to mend.