“Neat People vs Sloppy People” analysis Essay

“Neat People vs. Sloppy People”, by Suzanne Britt compares the day-to-day life and habits of “sloppy” people to notorious “neat” people. Britt’s point of view leans towards the sloppy person, causing the reader to conclude that the author is most likely sloppy in her own life. The meanings of the adjectives “neat” and “sloppy” seem to be flipped around when defined and exemplified. Someone reading this article is either going to be bothered by the context or is going to agree with the view of the messy side.

The author’s hope is probably for others to appreciate the morals and intentions of the two different types of people.

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Purpose of Suzanne Britt Essay

The author of this essay, Suzanne Britt is a poet, essayist, and teacher. Her essay “Neat People vs. Sloppy People” is from one of her books “Show and Tell”. The purpose of her essay is to highlight the differences of neat people and sloppy people by changing the meaning and purposes around this topic.

The tone of her essay is humorous, yet straightforward. She is able to make jokes about both sides, while being assertive in her meaning of these two styles of life. Through contrasting the two types of people in this essay, Britt is able to convey her purpose of recognizing neat people as “lazier and meaner than sloppy people“(para. 1). She also states that “sloppy people live in Never-Never Land” because they never get anything done, since they depend on “someday” to get their task accomplished (para. 3). By looking at these two contrasting lifestyles, it is seems that she favors the sloppy side of life. Even though she talks about the sloppy life as putting things off and collecting clutter, she recognizes it as a good thing. It is as though she switches the meanings of the two characteristics to make sloppy positive and neat negative, showing the author has a preference. This odd exchange of the two types of traits makes this article interesting since most would associate being sloppy as a negative.

Showing Neat as Negative and Sloppy as Positive

When analyzing these two traits it is seems that the characteristics that would normally describe a neat person describes a sloppy person. When stating, “neat people are bums and clods at heart”, the author uses derogative words to describe the person (para. 6). The term “neat” usually means organized and put together, which is what she means by the term “sloppy”. Sloppy people are stated to “give loving attention to every detail. When sloppy people say they’re going to tackle the surface of the desk, they really mean it.” Britt makes the neat people seem bothersome and uncaring, while the sloppy people seem determined and nurturing. As stated previously, the term “someday” is used repetitively in the second paragraph to describe when the goals of a sloppy person will be made. It is evident that sloppy people never get anything accomplished in their lives, because they are held back by the word “someday”. However, the author seems to think someday is not always a bad thing. Britt states “sloppy people can’t bear to part with anything”, which creates the sense of possible hoarding problems by sloppy people. They never know when they just might need something and it would be a waste to have to rebuy something that they had previously. So, I guess she thinks that they are thrifty and not wasteful people. Neat people get rid of things too quick and can be uneconomical in the long run.


This essay “Neat People vs. Sloppy People” analyzes two opposite lifestyles. By switching their meanings around, Britt is able to show just how different these two lifestyles are. She seems to imply that sloppy people are caring and will get to things done when needed. They are laid back and want to enjoy life by not worrying about keeping everything perfect. Sloppy people do not get caught up in the day to day rush of life and enjoy what they do. Neat people are not relaxed and worry about what others think too much. The author seems to feel that there is more to life than being spick-and-span. One can insinuate based on how she describes both neat and sloppy that Britt favors the messy side. The purpose of her essay is to convey how different each lifestyle is and how they can’t be one without the other. She uses humor almost in a satirical way in order to get her point across while being completely forward with the reader in her feelings towards both sides. By incorporating different techniques throughout her essay, Britt is able to portray her thoughts and feelings on the subject of neat verses sloppy people. After reading her article, a neat person might consider relaxing a bit and recognize that there just might be more to life than being spotless.

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