Wendell Berry Essay

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Samantha Lynch

6/2/2013

English 1410

Wendell Berry Essay

Marriage At Its Best

After writing “Why I Am Not Going To Buy A Computer,” in the 1987 edition of Harper’s, Wendell Berry was critiqued by readers who felts he was using his wife as a “drudge.” Berry writes that, “My wife types my work. She sees things that are wrong and marks them with small checks in the margins. She is my best critic because she is the one most familiar with my habitual errors and weaknesses. She also understands, sometimes better than I do, what ought to be said.” (Pg. 180) But his readers seemed to miss this. To make a full response to them, Berry writes “Feminism, The Body, and the Machine.” Through his use of quotation marks, tone, and diction, Berry defines and defends his marriage. He illustrates the ironies in how we think and live that have turned us from a sense of mutual belonging to one of individual ownership. Quotation marks can be used to imply a different meaning than a word would normally be associated with. “Marriage, in what is evidently its most popular version, is now on the one hand an intimate ‘relationship’ between two successful careerists in the same bed…” (Pg. 180) The word relationship tends to have a positive connotation because typically, it’s used to describe friendships, lovers, husbands and wives, mothers and daughters. The word implies something good, something sacred, and something intimate. However, Berry puts the word in quotation marks to essentially make the statement that this particular relationship is a lie. The relationship is not truly a relationship if each partner’s focus is on himself or herself. The same idea is applied to ‘… the ‘married’ couple will typically consume a large quantity of merchandise and a large portion of each other.” (Pg. 180) Marriage insinuates a helpful attitude between a husband and wife, a giving rather than taking. The definition of “consume” means to destroy. Comparing it to marriage confirms that...
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