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Divorce, The Epidemic Of America Essay

3378 words - 14 pages

In 1999, John and Libby Curry were a poor couple from rural West Lafayette, Indiana who had three children, Dave, Elizabeth, and Mary. The family was completely dependent on John's salary from the local hardware shop, however work was slowing down and things at home were not going so well. As the months passed on, John was getting fed up of working hard for his mediocre paycheck, his social life was suffering and coming home after a long day's work was simply aggravating. On January 31st, 2001, he ended his troubles by divorcing Libby and packing up and moving to Harwich, Massachusetts. John once again became a single man, regained his individuality, and did not have to cope with the problems of being in a marriage or family. His relationship with his family now consists of child support payments and the occasional phone call. However, Libby did not have the option to walk away. She and the children had to bear the outcome of John's irresponsibility. Following the divorce, Libby sold the home and moved the children back to Cleveland, Ohio to live with their grandmother. David went to the local high school, but did not fit in and was kicked out after three months for constant fighting. Elizabeth was transformed from a jovial third-grader to being withdrawn at school and coming home saddened over the fact that her dad wasn't coming home ever again. Mary is only seven months old and is still too young to realize the situation but is now growing up without the benefit of having both parents by her side.This story puts a spin on Dr. Peter Kramer's opinion on the effects of divorce in his essay, "Divorce and Our National Values." Although Kramer acknowledges that divorce is "destructive," he also justifies divorce by claiming "it signals social progress" (287). However, in many divorce cases this is untrue. In the hypothetical example of the Curry family, John splits from his family, granting him more freedom as a person. Yes, John was able to date again and experience the liberty of being autonomous. In fact it is plausible that he is better off financially and socially, however his freedom comes at devastating price to his family. Although John might have made social progress through divorce, the negative effects on his ex-wife and especially his three children overshadow any progress that he might have made. John's decision to abandon his wife and children was not necessarily an outreach to express individuality; rather John reached a point in his life where the responsibility of being a husband and father didn't fit his liking anymore so he made the decision to escape. This example brings out the problem with Kramer's statement concerning divorces. There are numerous reasons why people get divorced and to make a statement referring to all divorce cases is wrong. Sometimes divorces can be avoided while other times divorce is a necessary evil. An example would be if one spouse is abusive, or has a drug or alcohol addition, then the spouse or family...

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