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Research Analysis of Barbara Ehrenreich’s Cultural Baggage Essay

Barbra Ehrenreich’s “Cultural Baggage” essay found in Greene and Lidinksy (2012), expresses the author’s views on traditional values that come from a family’s heritage. Ehrenreich is motivated to write about this subject because her way of being raised was challenged. She was raised to find new things to try, and not succumb to the mindset of just accepting something because it’s always been there.

Her Father said, “’think for yourself’ and ‘always ask why’” (Ehrenreich, 2012, p. ). The purpose of the content is to show Barbra Ehrenreich’s disconnection from holding family traditions, and then argues that it’s not a necessity for every family to pass down traditions. Barbra insists that people from very traditional based religions will be disappointed and appalled that her family is always looking for new things to try (Ehrenreich, 2012). In the author’s opinion, there is nothing wrong for not following, or neglecting to start, family traditions.

Ehrenreich’s biggest claim in her essay is that she steadfastly disagrees with recurring traditions and expresses her intent for individuality in her family. She made a statement at the end of the essay saying, “My chest swelled with pride, as my mother’s would have, to know that the race of ”none” marches on” (Ehrenreich, 2012, p. 3). This shines light on the fact that they are a happy family with out traditions and have no intentions of ever adopting any. Also, Ehrenreich (2012) goes on to explain that her Grandmother would suggest that just because it’s old doesn’t mean it’s right, or necessary to continue.

Barbra is satisfied and proud to announce “none” as her ethnic background and “none” for her traditions. Barbra has a tone in the paper that exemplifies an informal conversation among women; particularly mothers. Her intention was to target mothers because she is justifying the guilt she felt when she realized her children weren’t growing up with traditions. Her question then was: Am I doing the right thing by not having any traditions for them? So, Barbra nervously asked her children if they were fine with not having any family traditions, and they eplied, “yes” (Ehrenreich, 2012). This was a relief for Barbra as it would be for most mothers.

My final contention in this matter would be to agree with Barbra Ehrenreich in saying that family traditions are not necessary, and it is important to branch out to new ventures. When Barbra asked her children about traditions they said, “and the world would be a better place if nobody else did either” (Ehrenreich, 2012, p. 3). The reason they say the world would be a better place is because people would be more interesting from branching out and learning new things.

In addition, the reasons there is a lot of conflicts in society, and on a global scale, are from radical people feeling their traditions or belief have been imposed upon by someone else. Examples include: Islamic religion, Al Qaeda, the Civil rights movement, the Civil War, and Gang Violence. Barbra is correct with her position on traditions with calling it “baggage,” because it weighs down the minds ability to see things in a new light, and that is the most important thing to me.


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