Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sample Contrast Paper

Students, please find below a draft of a contrast paper, as discussed during class. As with the earlier sample definition paper, keep in mind that it is a draft and not a finished work. Do also note that the larger group at work is not allowed for student use.

Oh, two other things:
1) This is an example of how to make the argument. It is not necessarily true.
2) The example is the average acceptable length for your own papers, when formatted for class submission.

An antagonist is anything that hinders or prevents a focal figure or focal figures from pursuing an end goal.  The household chores of doing laundry and of washing dishes both perform antagonistic functions.  Of the two, the more antagonistic is the dishwashing.

Laundry is certainly antagonistic to those who have to do it.  For many in New York City and the surrounding urban sprawl, the chore requires an excursion to a laundry facility, which effectively prevents at-home relaxation.  Even if a person lives in a building with its own laundry rooms, as is the case with many college dormitories, that person is obliged to remain with the laundry while it is being done, lest the clothes be stolen or thrown aside in favor of another person's wash.  In addition, then, to hindering many people's at-home relaxation--a goal common to a great many people and almost-universally regarded as a good thing--laundry day invites other persons to act as antagonists, thereby admitting the possibility of its own prevention.  Further, laundry facilities are expensive, taking money away from being spent on more favored pursuits and thereby acting antagonistically financially.

Even for those who are fortunate enough to have washers and dryers in their homes, laundry is antagonistic.  Because the machines are in the home, they intrude upon the home-dweller's awareness to a greater extent than does the laundromat walked by on the way to the bus stop or subway station; that intrusion tends to inhibit enjoyment of other activities, making it antagonistic.  Also, the presence of machinery in the home opens up the possibility of mechanical malfunction in the home.  Specifically, washing machines can flood the rooms in which they sit, and dryers can cause fires.  Both are generally considered to be detrimental to the conduct of other household activities, and since those activities are typically desirable end goals, insofar as the equipment needed to do laundry inhibits them, the task is antagonistic.

Dishwashing is hardly an enjoyable task.  Since dishes become dirty primarily through use, and the use of dishes typically involves foodstuffs, dirty dishes are commonly festooned with unused food and drink.  Being largely organic, that food and drink begins to corrupt soon after it is set aside, and corrupting foodstuffs have an unfortunate tendency to stink.  Bad smells are typically regarded as inhibiting enjoyment, and enjoyment is a prized end-goal of a great many people.  Since dishwashing tends to create a situation in which an end-goal is inhibited, it is necessarily antagonistic.

In addition, dishwashing exerts a number of physical ill-effects upon those who do it.  In many cases, the activity involves sticking one's hands into water through which one cannot see.  Knives, forks, graters, and the occasional broken glass appear among the dishes that are concealed by such water, and so sticking one's hands into it invites cuts, punctures, abrasions, and other injuries.  Even leaving aside such directly concrete instances of harm, washing dishes requires repetitive wrist motions, which common understanding notes leads to carpal tunnel syndrome and in turn prevents people from effectively performing any number of manual tasks.  Since many of the things that are enjoyed are done with the hands--and, as noted before, enjoyment is a common end-goal--that which prevents the use of the hands is necessarily antagonistic.  Similarly, the height of a sink typically requires that the dishwasher either bend over repeatedly or assume a hunched position, both of which tend to cause back pain and thereby inhibit enjoyment in a manner like to wrist injuries.

Worse yet, dishwashing is a frequently-necessary activity, needing to take place daily or more often.  As such, each of the annoyances and inhibitions of enjoyment that it provokes happen every single day in many households.  While it may be argued that the intensity of annoyance and degree of hindrance offered by a single instance of dishwashing is equivalent to that of a single instance of doing the laundry, because dishwashing takes place so much more frequently than doing the laundry--commonly regarded as a weekly occurrence among household chores--the intensity and degree are amplified to a much greater level than is the case for laundry, making dishwashing more antagonistic.

In truth, it is difficult if not impossible for any one person to fully maintain a household of more than one person, so that the division of chores becomes a necessity in short order.  Certainly, among siblings and among roommates and families, much attention is paid to who does what and how hard each thing is.  Knowing which chores are most onerous, then, has a direct effect on the harmony of many households, and that harmony is a thing which ought well to be protected.

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