Hall 1101-351

After reading the first paragraph of “Shop Class as Soulcraft”, I could already tell that Mathew B. Crawford is an excellent writer. His style of writing is very unique and difficult to understand by the average reader, being that he uses advanced writing techniques and vocabulary often. As an average reader myself, it took me a while to get the gist of what he was saying. Crawford incorporates memoirs along with a combination of philosophy in “Shop Class as Soulcraft.” He makes it very easy to identify his bias and builds his sentences in a way that reinforces his argument.

     Crawford’s writing style has taught me that I have a great deal to learn as a student. I can say that after reading Shop Class, my vocabulary arsenal has increased and I feel like I am more determined to tackle difficult texts. His writing style is exceptional because subsequently after reading his text, you are intrigued to take his side and develop his bias. In “Shop Class as Soulcraft”, Crawford explains why manual work is important for a person to learn as it provides you with a sense of worth and accomplishment as well as teaching you the value of work. He also argues that manual work and craftsmanship should be taught in schools via vocational ed to prepare students for blue collar labor. Crawford states, “Today in our schools the manual trades are given little honor. The egalitarian worry that has always attended tracking students into “college prep” and “vocational ed” is overlayed with another: the fear that acquiring a specific skill set means that one’s life is determined”. Crawford starts the sentence off by basically stating that manual labor is given less honor due to the lack of it being taught in schools. He then reinforces his statement by giving a general view of the opposing side, while making them appear to sound rash. When I read this quote, it taught me the egalitarian point of view but the way Crawford said it made me want to criticize the majority of the school system for believing that learning one set of skills decides your future.

     Crawford’s writing is also interesting due to his use of memoirs. To further reinforce his argument as well as provide readers with an interesting turn of events, Crawford occasionally incorporates a memoir into his text. For example in order to explain the benefits of operating a manual trade, he notifies us about the time he went out eating with his wife. “There were three restaurants with cooks whose bikes I had restored, where unless I deceive myself I was treated as a sage benefactor. I felt pride before my wife when we would go out to dinner and be given preferential treatment, or simply a hearty greeting.” This is a perfect example of how operating a manual trade can be beneficial. In exchange for doing work, Crawford was treated with utmost respect and kindness. I can relate to this quote because I myself have gone through a similar sequence of events. As a worker at a shoe store, I helped a man find a pair of shoes which he liked very much. He was extremely pleased since he could not find the shoes anywhere else. A couple of days later I found myself ordering pizza to my house. When the delivery man came, I realized that he was the same man who I had assisted at the shoe store. The man had also realized this and he did not charge me for the food, saying that he would pay for it himself. It is a different feeling when you perform work with your own hands for someone because it creates a bond between you and your customer as well as reward you with happiness and an increased interest to do more good.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Crawford is very skilled at making his writing seem very enticing to the reader, to the point that if you don’t pay mind to what he is saying, you feel like you are giving up a valuable piece of information. Towards the end, Crawford gives his readers some valuable advice: “So what advice should one give to a young person? By all means, go to college. In fact, approach college in the spirit of craftsmanship, going deep into liberal arts and sciences. In the summers, learn a manual trade. You’re likely to be less damaged, and quite possibly better paid, as an independent tradesman than as a cubicle-dwelling tender of information systems. To heed such advice would require a certain contrarian streak, as it entails rejecting a life course mapped out by others as obligatory and inevitable”. Crawford advises his readers to attend college and explore the field of liberal arts as well as study a manual trade over the summer. Crawford argues that doing this will provide you with a possible chance of higher pay and more benefits than a white collar job would offer. Crawford structures his writing in a way that basically implies that if you do not listen to his advice, you will face the consequences. Just the thought of someone other than yourself mapping out your life can be dreadful for most of us. I personally know individuals who chose career paths under the influence of fellow peers, leading them to be regretful and having to start over. In my case, it would be optimal to find an occupation in the manual work field that involves assisting others as well as provide me with obstacles that I must overcome to achieve a sense of accomplishment.

    In conclusion, reading “Shop Class as Soulcraft” has taught me a handful, ranging from my vocabulary to my newfound information on sentence structure. I have also come to agree with Crawford. Manual labor and craftsmanship is important as it teaches you your self worth, the value of work, and how to be proud of your accomplishments. Even if you ultimately decide to take on a white collar job it is important to have hands on experience with blue collar work. I also believe schools should start up shop classes as well because it grants you with a foundation and a starting point to succeed in the future. After reading the text I can finally look forward to researching more into the manual trade and hopefully end up taking on a job that I love and look forward to attending every day.

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