Comparative Critique: Hekker and Tannen

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Before the 1950's, average American women did not receive a college education, did not have a career, nor were they the bread winners for their households. But after the feminist movement was launched, many women had the opportunity to be equal to men, and to pursue their own independence and careers. In Terry Martin Hekker’s “Paradise Lost (Domestic Division)” and Deborah Tannen’s “Understanding Mom”, both authors show this revolutionary change in the roles and expectations of contemporary women and how these changes impact the dynamics of marriage and divorce. In her 2006 essay, Hekker admits that after her divorce, she wished she had achieved the career skills and education of the younger, modern woman; however, she goes on to say that she does not regret marrying her ex-husband, and that she cherishes her children and grandchildren. (Hekker,416) On the other hand, Tannen reveals that she never wanted the traditional life that her Russian born mother wanted her to live. Instead, Tannen achieved her own educational goals and then tried to understand her mother's point of view about the roles of women. (Tannen,422) While both Hekker and Tannen discuss the changes over the last fifty years involving gender roles, cultural viewpoints on American marriage, and the value of a higher education for women, Tannen’s article proves to be more valid because she avoids not only the unnecessary emotionally loaded excuses but also Hekker's apathetic approach to attain the possibilities that women have available to them today. Of the two authors, Tannen seems more credible because she takes more responsibility for her decisions. Both articles discuss personal examples of how the women in each of the author's families affect their own decisions regarding marriage, the value of a higher education, and gender roles. Women growing up in the 1950's often wanted their

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