“My mother never worked”

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This book's narration opens with a phone call that the majority of people make to social security after a family member dies. The protagonist of this essay begins as she recalls her mother's life from the time she graduated before she began working. Her reflections started with her first job as a full-time employee in a general store. Later on, she realizes she wants to be a farmer's wife (Smith-Yackel 3). This is where she remembers how she began her life's work of milking, washing, gardening, cooking, canning, knitting, weaving, quilting, and raising eight children. The essay will highlight how the author uses, ethos, pathos, and logos to convince her audience.

Later in her life, her mother was involved in a car accident, and as a result, she became paralyzed from the waist going down thus making her spending the rest of her life in a wheelchair. Still, she continued baking, ironing, sewing, canning and writing letters weekly. When the author finally meets with the social security worker, he had the guts to tell her that, “am sorry but, you seem to get nothing because you never worked,” (Smith-Yackel 12). Throughout the narration, Bonnie Smith-Yackel the narrator of the story “My mother never worked” tried to use ethos to convince her audience that her mom was a diligent worker and that she of all people deserve to get social security. Smith-Yackel goes on this long explanation on the phone with the social security administration, about how her mother never stopped working (Smith-Yackel 7). Going through a timeline so far back so that anyone who was listening would have to pay close attention to all the details. Describing her mothers’ daily chores in a farm a very long list of them, everything from feeding pigs to growing vegetables. Smith-Yackel was sympathetic towards her mother trying to provide as much as she could for the children, such as getting rags to make clothing, savings scraps of raw materials to make necessities and growing their own vegetables.

She also uses pathos when she mentions that one of her mother’s children had passed away which was hard for her to deal with. Her mom was involved in a rollover car accident, despite being injured so severely, she still managed quite well even paralyzed from the waist down. There was nothing her mother could not do. The long endless list of chores extended into every season Smith-Yackel mentioned. When the family got their own farm, they ended up having to do extra work to clear the land. The author has a good point of using logos when she shared how there should be recognition for this kind of work being a single parent of 2, 14 and 17-year-old children (Smith-Yackel 24). What the author points out throughout the story is to make the audience feel sympathy for her mother since she passed through many hardships while working on the farm while still raising eight children. It makes us believe that she deserves to be given the social security benefit check. This poses a point that even though women work hard in their homes; they are still not credited form the societies. The issue raised in the narration is something that happens in today’s life because the majority of women have the same mentality.

The title itself contains irony because it makes readers be curious about the point the author brought about the situation. The author uses the article to reveal her opinion of work. Despite the fact that her thesis was not directly stated, she used ethos, pathos, and logos to try and convince the reader that her mother worked. She did this by making the readers have sympathy especially when she tried to show that her mother had an overload of work. She does this by mentioning how her mother worked on the farm while she cooked, cleaned the house, sewed clothes & rugs for her children. Smith-Yackels’ mother is also seen to continue sowing while planting crops in her garden especially at an old age.


The purpose of the essay as revealed by the author was to prove that she had a hard working mother. To exemplify this, she tried to convince that her mother deserved the social security benefit because she worked harder than any other person. The essay is relatable because each one of us has a mother. Therefore the use of sympathy is to show how mothers usually work hard for the families. They do this either by staying at home or working the whole day. At the beginning of the essay, the author uses a bit of pathos when the phone call was being made, which acts as a reminder of why Smith-Yackel is talking about her mother’s life. A bit of sympathy then follows especially when her mother was involved in a car accident. Eventually, we also see the use of logos when she provides a timeline which marked the month and year when all children were born.

Work cited

Yackel, Bonny Smith. “Introduction.” My mother never worked, 2001, pp. 3–12.,

October 25, 2022

Literature Life Crime



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Book Review Job Security

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