Human Nature to Repair

Daniel Gruber

Professor Harris

English 110


All throughout Spelmans book, Repair, it is shown that it is human nature to want to repair things. Whether it is repairing other humans or just objects it is human nature to want to repair things. What I found interesting in Repair is how although it is in the nature of all humans to mend and repair things, we all do it in our own personal way. And whether it is repairing a personal relationship with someone or repairing a car or object we all do it in different ways. And this is shown throughout Repair often, specifically in chapter 2 when Spelman writes about Willie, Fred, and Louise/Elizabeth/Irene and how they all repair in their own way. Spelman writes

We know all this about Willie and Fred and Louise/Elizabeth/Irene which is why we don’t take damaged works of art to Willie’s shop, or go to Fred if our primary concern is to get the pickup back on the road in time to help a friend move to new lodgings

And this shows that although they all repair things for a living they all do it in their own respective and personal way. Repairing is a thing that all humans as a whole do, and although there might be some similarities in the way each of us do it, overall we all repair in our own way.

This can relate to real life as well because since we all repair in our own different ways some may or may not be more affective than another.  And if our way of repairing is less effective than another we may consider changing our way to make it more effective. But in my opinion this isn’t good because there is no sense in changing your way because everyone has there is own way and it can be effective if you work to make it effective. And if you change your way to the way of someone else it is no longer your own individual way of repairing.

With repairing being in the nature of humans it turns out that with a lot of things we do we are in fact, repairing when we might not even know we are. We know that when we apologize we are attempting to repair a relationship that may have been harmed in some way or another. And we know that when we fix something physically such as repairing a car or machine we are attempting to repair it back to its original form. But what we don’t know is that when we do a lot of things we are actually repairing in a way. An example of this is when we sleep we are actually repairing or fixing our tired bodies to get back to full stamina or when we play a game of basketball or doing something physically demanding we are repairing or relieving our bodies of the calories and fat of the food we ate earlier that day, so in a way with a lot of things we do throughout a day we are actually repairing when we don’t even know it or intend on it. Further proving the fact that it really is in human nature to repair as shown throughout Elizabeth Spelman’s book, Repair.

Apologies vs. Reparations

Daniel Gruber

Professor Harris



Throughout life we have all done something to harm someone. Whether it was an accident or deliberately on purpose we all have harmed someone in some way. And in response to this we all usually apologize, but this may or may not be enough to the person that we harmed. What I found interesting about Chapters 4-5 of Repair by Elizabeth Spelman is how she writes about how in some cases people may want actual reparations as opposed to just an apology for what they did. Apologizing might not be enough in some cases and the person that was harmed might want some actual justice for what was done to them. This is shown when Spelman writes

He broke or weakened the connection between them, pulled hard at the fabric holding the larger community together, but the damage cannot be mended by his apology alone.

I believe this is definitely true and that a simple apology might not be enough in a lot if cases. I have seen this to be true in several of my own experiences as well.

An experience I have had in which a simple apology wasn’t enough occurred about a year ago when my friend and I were in a small but costly car accident. The other driver hit my friend’s car causing a vast amount of damage to his car. The driver got out of his car and immediately apologized to my friend for hitting him. But obviously this wasn’t enough to make up for the damage he had done. Just because he had apologized doesn’t mean my friend was just going to walk away without reparations for the damage to his car. The driver ended up paying for the damage that was done to my friend’s car which was the correct amount of reparation to make up for the harm he had done. This shows that an apology isn’t enough and actual reparations are needed in some cases.

In some cases, an apology is enough to make up for the harm that was done but that is only in small cases of harm. But overall I believe that Spelman was correct in saying that in some cases reparations are needed as opposed to apologies when someone is harmed. Reparations allow, a lot of the time, for the person that was harmed to get back whatever was harmed about them, as opposed to apologies that are a nice gesture but don’t allow for the person that was harmed to get back what they once had.