Speaking of Children - Summary | The Magic of Words

Barbara Holland

Speaking of Children - Summary | The Magic of Words

Speaking of Children

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 on the parents. She believes that one child is an appendage but more than one is a way of life. One child is outnumbered 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 can not go to the weekend where they like. They have to move to better schools for their children. They have to be involved in many social converse/talk/discussion. They are pushed backward. Above all, they have to lose peace and privacy because they are frequently interrupted by their children. Then, there is a bitter look in everyone. When there is secrecy, they have to talk on the 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 suddenness and finality or determination. So, this essay is about having many children.

Important Questions

1. How does the essay `Speaking of children’ examine the idea of having more than one child?
Ans: Having more than one child is an obstacle of a happy married life. Having more than one child is a way of child i.e. parents have to change their way of life into the children’s way of life since the parents are outnumbered. The parents hardly get time for their private affair. The children always come in between. The mother of a plural child gets tired and by the time she goes to bed sleep faster. So they even don’t get time to share their idea even in bedtime. Moreover, your holiday plan should be changed because of plural children. The parents search for cheaper and nearby place etc.

2. Does the essay speaking of children speak in favor or against having many children? Give reason.
Ans: This essay speaks implicitly against having many children. The essayist without passing her judgment examines the idea of having more than one child is the consequent expenses of parents. Barbara Holland talks about the sacrifices that the parents have to make for the sake of their children. She says that one child is just one extra thing in one’s life. They can make it do what they want to go. They can teach it nice things as they wish. In short, one child is never a nuisance. But more than one child becomes unmanageable for their parents. Even if there are only two children, they are sufficient enough to outnumber you and your husband. They almost completely deny you any time to enjoy a private chat with your husband. Barbara also tells us that parents of plural children can spare time for themselves only after they have taken the children somewhere and brought them home again. Things are never in order. Whenever you move into the house, children’s playthings come in your way. In short, with more than one child, you and your husband are never yourselves.

Questions for Practice

  1. Does Barbara Holland speak in favor of against having many children? Give reasons.
  2. What does Barbara Holland say about having many children? 3. Write the advantage of having one child and disadvantage of having many children for the present as shown in the essay `Speaking of Children.

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