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“My Mother Never Worked” by Bonnie Smith-Yackel

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Women in today’s society have a much louder voice; meaning they have more respect, and are greatly appreciated for what they do, compared to Yackel’s 1975 essay. Bonnie Smith-Yackel’s essay makes a statement about how society values, and appreciates women and the way they work dating back to the 1920’s. Most things having to do with women working or anybody for that matter have changed for the better since then, but sadly some things still remain the same.

Yackel begins her essay with a call to the Social Security office trying to recover a death benefit and like anyone knows, any call to federal program office will often leave you on hold for an extended period of time. During this time Yackel begins to recollect some of the faint memories of her mother and the tedious stages of life that she had endured. She uses this introduction as an open door to the story of her mother and will ultimately use this same introduction to close this entry of pain and dedication.

Marriage during those days weren’t the same as we now know them. Our perception of marriage brings to mind the words love, unity, and happily-ever-after. As you tell from Yackel’s essay her mother’s perception of marriage differs from the minds of today. Her schemes of marriage consist of a half-dozen children to look after while she cooks, cleans, and supports the weight of the world on her shoulders. Today, no one would be caught dead with twelve uncultivated kids tugging at there sleeves. Obviously, birth control wasn’t actually promoted if even offered at this time period. Yackel uses a quote from her mother to show the discouragement she has about the idea of marriage. ‘It just makes me sick…..”(Smith-Yackel page 97). This is a direct quote from the mother of Yackel, showing her raw and real feelings about marriage. It’s not difficult to understand the frustration she must felt, it obviously makes a statement about marriage during the 1920’s.

Fulfilling her destiny, Yackel’s mother begins the life she had so dreaded committing to, having two children within her three years of marriage made her aspect of marriage even more true. She also worked on a farm from dawn until midnight every day trying to make ends meet. Having no knowledge of farming, Yackel’s mother slowly began excepting her life as a farm-working woman as apposed to a “town-bred mother” (Smith-Yackel page 97). Yackel goes on to explains in detail the hard work her mother endured day after day, and night after night, showing the extent of her mothers hard labor.

Harsh times begin to present themselves and life on the farm isn’t what it’s all cracked up to be. Droughts were ruining the crops and hurting there livestock, the dust was so thick visual contact from the house to the barn was nearly impossible. This was the least of there problems, Yackel’s mother the mother of two was now the mother of five, one son and four daughters. To be able to stop working was absolutely impossible, and totally out of the question. Yackel’s mother was now obligated to work for the sake of children, and work she did. Yackel’s mother continued to sustain her family’s welfare and wellbeing. At the age of 46, the mother so frightened of the idea commitment, and children now has eight children of her own, five daughters and three sons.

After all the recollection and reminiscing, Yackel’s deep stages of thought are now interrupted. The door to Yackel’s story is now beginning to close, and the Social Security office operator has her full attention. Yackel made it a point to show how hard her mother worked day, after day, after day. Throughout hard times Yackel’s mother strongly managed to care for her many children. Now the conclusion to Yackel’s essay, “Well, your mother isn’t entitled to are death benefit, – your mother never worked” (Smith-Yackel page 99). Yackel is shocked, stunned by the comments of the operator. It shows in her writing the frustration she has.

Farming in America is not so common like it used to be back in the 1940’s. Women today generally have more respect for hard work such as farming. They also have more say in the marriage point of view and are able to be heard no matter what the situation. Yackel’s essay makes a statement about how society values, and appreciates women and the way they work. Today women are much appreciated for anything they put there heart into.

Book: Patterns for College Writing, 9th EDITION

Bibliography/works cited

Smith-Yackel, Bonnie.My Mother Never Worked

Boston:Bedford/St. Martins. 2004.

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