The essay “Farm Girl”, written by Jessica Hemauer, is one that is full of wisdom and detail about a little girl growing up on a farm and how her time spent doing chores there has helped her to prepare for most of life’s great difficulties (Hemauer, 2011). She writes this essay with such experience and confidence in her knowledge and emotions while describing daily duties such as waking up at 5:00 a.m. at ten years old and “cleaning out various huts and pens.” This essay significantly describes the emotions and responsibilities in the life of a farm girl (Hemauer, 2011).
While setting the mood for this essay, Hemauer starts by descriping the sound of her alarm clock, followed by the thought to herself, “A typical ten-year-old child does not have to wake up at five in the morning to do chores!” This gives the audience a sense of emotion by relating to waking up early to do routine tasks. It also adds to the emotion that she is ten years old. The essay continues to describe her morning routine with her siblings as they conduct personal hygiene and get dressed to help their father with chores on their farm (Hemauer, 2011). The first several paragraphs seem to describe the mundane tasks that she is expected to do as a child. She has a sense of despair while conducting these chores but does not feel complaining would help the situation due to “past experience” from arguing with her father (Hemauer, 2011). Although she despises many of the chores she is required to do, she describes one chore as being very rewarding. By feeding the newborn calves, Hemauer states, “When I feed the calves, I am in charge.” She says this is her favorite chore because, since she is the youngest of her siblings, she never experiences the feeling of caring for someone like her older siblings do (Hemauer, 2011).
Most of the chores that Hemauer and her siblings are required to do, they do before school. The children work frantically to complete their tasks not to be late. They each take turns conducting hygiene and getting ready. Each one of them has specific tasks. Hermauer describes their daily lives as if they “operate in shifts, not like a real family.” School is another subject for Hermauer. Since most of her time is dedicated to the farm, she struggles with participation in school activities and events. Hermauer describes her social life at school to be depressing and lonely. Hermauer wrote, “The topic of the conversation at the lunch table never involves me,” describing how her friends talk about sports and social clubs that she cannot be a part of that (Hemauer, 2011).
Later in school, she was able to participate in after school sports by managing her time in order to still complete her chores after practice. This proved to be quite exhausting for Hermauer since she wrote about her teachers catching her sleeping during class occasionally. All during school she learned to manage her time accordingly. Hermauer told how her father then met with the family and told them that he “needed more help on the farm than his children can provide.” This allowed her to become more involved with school and her social life. She writes about even taking a job as a waitress. She describes that after her entire life of trying to “fit in” with her friends, she continues to “stand out” amongst them due to her amazing work ethic and time-management skills. She receives praise from her teachers and employers on the amazing skills she has received. She then realizes her time on the farm has provided her with the skills to face a lot of life’s responsibilities (Hemauer, 2011).
I see Jessica Hemauer’s audience for this essay being children struggling with participation in social activities due to family matters and responsibilities, and mature people, who have already lived through such a childhood. This is a personal genre essay written in an emotional tone describing author’s life lessons and epiphanies she has received. In my opinion, Hemauer wrote this essay to provide relief for herself and others over documenting her childhood in writing and share experience with others, who might be going/have gone through similar circumstances, to somehow justify them and also explain what possible outcome such childhood can have. As for myself, I found this essay very relational since I had a similar childhood growing up.
Hemauer, J. (2011). Farm Girl. In Editor’s (or Editors’) initials (f.e. J.K. Rosenfeld & P.T. Trout) (Eds.), The McGraw-Hill Guide: Writing For College, Writing For Life (2nd ed. 2011, pp. 83-87). City of publication: Publishing House.