Are all neat people lazy, wasteful, insensitive, and less moral than sloppy people? Are all men more interested in sports while women focus their time on housework and cleaning? The answer to both of these questions is no. These questions bring up generalizations that are dealt with in both of the short essays which are which are as follows: “Neat People vs. Sloppy People” by Suzanne Britt, and “Batting Clean-up and Striking Out” by Dave Barry. Suzanne Britt describes the generalized behavior and mindset of neat and sloppy people, which is not a popular stereotype heard in everyday life.
On the contrary, Dave Barry describes a stereotype that is absolutely heard in everyday life. It involves the ideal that women are not interested in sports and men are not interested in cleaning. Though both Britt and Barry call into question the reason behind stereotypes, Dave Barry’s “Batting Clean-Up and Striking out” is a much more effective essay. Using personal life experiences and humor, unlike Britt, Barry’s essay is more relatable to contemporary because it involves a generalization that most, if not all humans have to deal with or encounter during at least one point in life.
In the essay “Neat People vs. Sloppy People,” Suzanne Britt argues that neat people are more harsh and less moral than sloppy people. To support her argument, the author states, “People, animals, and things are all one to them. They are so insensitive” (Britt 257). However, to describe sloppy people, the author writes, “They save everything, planning someday to file, order, and straighten out the world. But while these ambitious plans take clearer and clearer shape in their heads, the books spill from the shelves onto the floor… and the unread magazines hreaten to reach the ceiling” (Britt 256).
Suzanne Britt uses a much more defensive tone when describing sloppy people. In her writing, there is a much deeper meaning beyond the text. What Suzanne Britt is trying to say is much less literal than it comes out to sound. Truly, her purpose is to question stereotypes and why they exist. In order to portray this purpose, she uses exaggeration, drama, and accusatory language. Throughout her writing, the author wonders why stereotypes are made about certain people, and how one may be created in the first place.
Dave Barry, on the other hand, in “Batting Clean-Up and Striking Out,” argues that women and men are different, especially based on the activities they enjoy doing and how they generally are as human beings. Barry makes this argument by describing how women and sports do not mix, as well as how men and cleaning do not mix. He opens his argument by saying, “The primary difference between men and women is that women can see extremely small quantities of dirt” (Barry 261). Barry then continues his argument and switches his main point of comparison by saying, “The opposite side of the dirt coin, of course, is sports.
This is an area where men tend to feel very sensitive and women tend to be extremely callous” (Barry 262). In his argument, Dave Barry uses humor, exaggeration, and a defensive yet lighthearted tone. However, similar to most writers, including Suzanne Britt, his writing should not be taken literally. Exaggeration and humor play the largest role in bringing out his purpose, which is to call out stereotypes of men and women. Barry understands that these generalizations are just generalizations. As a result, he took an opportunity to bring them to the attention of everyone reading so that they, too, would question why stereotypes exist.
In both short essays, there are some very similar aspects. These similar aspects pertain to their overall purposes and writing strategies. For example, both Suzanne Britt and Dave Barry search for and try to grasp the idea of why generalizations exist. Both authors wonder what the cause of such a phenomenon may have been and why they have lasted for so many years. Additionally, these authors use a great deal of exaggeration, humor, and defensiveness towards the side they support. However, in retrospect, Barry’s essay structure and style was much more effective than Britt’s.
He provided life examples several times throughout his writing. As an example, Barry wrote, “Nevertheless, because I am a sensitive and caring guy, I ‘clean’ the bathroom, spraying Windex all over everything…. wipe it back off with the paper towels and I go back to whatever activity I had been engaged in… and a little while later my wife will say: ‘I hate to rush you, but could you do Robert’s bathroom? ” (Barry 262). By providing life examples such as this, Barry makes his purpose easily identifiable by his audience because he explains a real event that he experienced firsthand.
Providing a firsthand experience, when proving a point, backs up whatever argument one may be making because it proves that the event can actually happen in real life. However, in Britt’s essay, the purpose was much more difficult to identify because she did not provide many examples to support her argument. Overall, she basically stated that neat people are immoral and sloppy people are moral because that is simply how life is. Within her writing, she did not question stereotypes and ponder why they exist nearly as much as Dave Barry.
Also, Barry’s essay deals much more with aspects of contemporary human nature, whereas Britt’s essay deals with a stereotype not common to everyday life. Barry shows a common example of this generalization when he mentions, “But somewhere during the growth process, a hormonal secretion takes place in women that enables them to see dirt that men cannot see, dirt at the level of molecules, whereas men don’t generally notice it until it forms clumps large enough to support agriculture” (Barry 261). Barry explains how women and men see things differently.
He argues that women would see dirt somewhere that a man would presume to be clean. Humans place so many stereotypes on women and men, making them seem to be polar opposites, when in reality, they are not so different at all. Both Dave Barry and Suzanne Britt have produced works that provide insightful looks into stereotypes by questioning society and why people must have an assumed role to fulfill. Although Britt writes about neat and sloppy people, and Barry compares men and women, their main purposes and writing strategies are generally similar.
However, Dave Barry’s portrayal of gender generalization is much more relatable to human nature because stereotypes involving men and women affect everyone. They affect everyone by causing people to have the idea that only women can do specific things and only men can do other specific things. Gender generalizations are unnecessary to life because no matter what one’s gender may be, one can and should pursue any dream they desire. Barry has addressed an issue that is an ongoing problem for so many people around the world, and has assisted his audience in raising questions themselves, challenging the existence of stereotypes.