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Barbara Holland

The essay Speaking of Children is an extract from Barbara Holland’s renowned volume Mother’s Day or the View from In Here. In this essay, Holland examines the idea of having more than one child and its effect to the parents. The essay is about the children and its effects on family. She believes that one child is an appendage (A part that is joined to something larger) but more than one is a way of life. One child is outnumbered (be large in number/counted) and parents can brainwash it, carry it to parties, toss it on the bed with the coats and make it whatever they want. It is usually easy to look after one child. It is a part of their lives.

But, plural children are a counter culture in the house. Parents are outnumbered by the children. In other words, parents must accept or do something they do not want but they are compelled to do certain undesired things. They have to buy many toy sets and they cannot go to the weekend where they like. They have to keep on moving to find better schools for their children. They have to be involved in many social converse / talk / discussion. They are pushed backwards. Above all, they have to lose peace and privacy because they are frequently interrupted by their children. Then, there is bitter look in everyone. When there is secrecy, they have to talk in phone from their office. In this way, the children will not let the parents talk peacefully and privately. Even the plural children can become a real danger for a family because many marriages break up in America just due to the children. As a whole, mothers of plural children have no peace in their life. They have to sleep with startling (surprising) suddenness and finality or determination. So, this essay is against having many children.

She points out the following disadvantages or consequences of having more than one child:

  1. We can’t shape the brain and manners of children if they are more than one.
  2. We can’t take them anywhere where we go if they are plural.
  3. Plural children make our life complicated.
  4. Plural children make our living room and home dirty with their playing things.
  5. We can’t enjoy our holiday as we like because we have to take them somewhere else.
  6. We have to take dinner earlier for them.
  7. We have to keep moving in search of better schools for them.
  8. We have to do our own tasks in a very small amount of time that remains after serving them.
  9. We have to talk with the parents of our children’s friend who are unknown to us.
  10.  Our life becomes theirs gradually.
  11. They claim for our things like telephone.
  12. We have to tolerate their idiotic questions.
  13.  It is important for husband and wife to have private talk for a healthy life but plural children keep on disturbing.
  14. Mothers of more than one child sleep earlier because they are tired.
The writer has suggested some ironical techniques to overcome the problems as follows:

  1. We can talk to each other in family in the language which the children don’t understand like French and German.
  2. We can talk to each other in phone when you are in office.
  3. We can write notes to each other but only up to their illiteracy.
The essay is quite funny, humorous and informative. It makes us aware against having more than one child through different ideas.

Q. Does this essay speak in favor or against having many children? Give reasons.

The essay “Speaking of Children” is written by an American writer, Barbara Holland. It is an informal piece of writing made lively and effective through the device of conversation. It examines the negative aspects of having more than one child. Hence, it speaks against having many children.
The advantages of parents for having one child are quite obvious. One child is an appendage and it can be outnumbered by parents. It can be carried along on pleasure trips. The most important of all is the privacy, which remains intact. On the contrary, plural children will be the end of advantages and the beginning of disadvantages. They will be counter-culture in the house and the parents will be outnumbered. There will be no place left in the living room because of the toys all over. Long pleasure trips will be shortened. The parents will be obliged to adjust themselves according to new situation. First priority will have to be given to the children and their matters. The house will be at sixes and sevens. Above all, there will be no privacy for the wife and the husband. They will be interfered and interrupted by the children at every possible moment. Surprisingly enough, due to lack of proximity, the husband and wife will be reduced to the stage of strangers unless some solution is found out to end the new problem.

Since the writer has focused on the enlargement of the disadvantages for having plural children, it is clear that she is against having plural children.


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  2. Can I get all the answers of book.


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