"Having It All" by Arlie Hochschild.

Essay by chanx314College, UndergraduateA-, October 2003

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In Arlie Hochschild's novel, The Time Bind: When Work Becomes Home and Home Becomes Work, the central premise is that American family life is increasingly spread into small slices of time with much rushing from task to task in order to meet the family's needs. This causes a "time bind" with respect to the time that Americans spend with their children. This premise leads one to ask the question, "Can anyone have it all?" This question is very subjective as the meaning of "having it all" changes with age and depends on one's status. But the very core of "having it all" relies on one being at peace with what one has. Thus, anyone can have it all with little or no tradeoffs, as one's definition of "having it all" can change as one's situation in life changes.

An example in popular media that illustrates Hochschild's central argument quite thoroughly is in the television show, Everybody Loves Raymond.

One particular episode is about the wife, Debra, and her growing frustration that her husband, Raymond, is always working and never able to help her with their three children. One day Debra decides to visit Raymond at work, and finds him sitting down relaxing with friends watching a sports game. Raymond tries to rationalize to her that since he is a sportswriter he needs to watch sports games for his work, but Debra questions why he cannot do this at home so he can at least spend some time with his family. Raymond has no answer for this. Hochschild explains this behavior because she contends that despite long hours on the job, people prefer to spend time at work to avoid the potential nagging of spouses and children. Hochschild finds that "Parents like Timmy's father and Cassie's mother lament the...