Working As American Necessity

During the birth of this country, Puritans had to work hard to ensure thesuccess of the new state. In order to make work more appealing, the Puritansemphasized the fruits of labor.

This attitude, reflected in modern day by theact of “working for a living,” is considered as a “badge ofpride.” Puritan attitudes toward work and the attitudes of two modern daywriters toward work all agree that the act of working has virtuous effects, anattitude that I share because of my working experience (Clee and Clee 233-234).Three different attitudes toward work, expressed by several writers whom I haverecently studied agree that hard work yields positive rewards. Henry F. Bedford,a history teacher at Phillips Exeter Academy, and Trevor Colbourne, a teacher atthe University of New Hampshire, examine the Puritan attitude toward work intheir book The Americans: A Brief History. Puritans stress the goodness ofworking by relating it to religious beliefs. Sloth is sinful, but the Puritansalso pointed out that it was self-defeating. Leisure is even considered an”evil temptation” (Bedford and Colbourne 235-238).

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Marge Piercy, amodern day poet, essayist, and novelist, attempts to explain why work isdesirable on contemporary terms in her poem “To Be of Use.” To Piercy,hard workers who really persevere are admirable because of the fact that theworld is full of temptations to stop working, or to not work altogether. Thisadmiration for determination is apparent because work is as “common asmud,” and it must be done sometime (Piercy 242-243). Wendell Berry, anEnglish teacher at the University of Kentucky, explains the basis of the desireto work in his essay “The Joy of Work.” In response to the predictionthat there will be no work in the future, Berry emphasizes the importance ofwork to human nature. He explains that people do work because of “fellowfeeling,” and that people get satisfaction from doing work (Berry 244-247).The concept of satisfaction as a product of hard work has been proven valid tome through my years of experience.

All of these selections agree that work is abasic part of life without it, one would have a void in his life wheresatisfaction would be. Success of humanity depends on work.