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"I Want a Wife"

A tone and diction analysis for Judy Brady's "I Want a Wife"

Zackary Lash

on 1 October 2013

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Transcript of "I Want a Wife"

"I Want a Wife"
Tone and Diction

Tone: encompasses the
toward the
and toward the
implied in a literary work.
Diction Analysis: Pronouns and Repetition
Diction Analysis: Expressions
“I want a wife who takes care of the children when they are sick, a wife who arranges to be around... because,
of course
, I cannot miss classes at school” (3).
of course
, I want a wife who will not demand sexual attention when I am not in the mood for it” (7).

Needless to say
, my wife will arrange and pay for the care of the children while my wife is working” (3)

“I must,
after all
, be able to relate to people as fully as possible.” (7)

, I will expect a fresh, new life; my wife will take the children and be solely responsible for them so that I am left free. “(8)

Repetition and Author's Purpose

is the deliberate repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of several successive verses, clauses, or paragraphs.

I want a wife
who will work and send me to school. And while I am going to school,
I want a wife
to take care of my children...
I want a wife
who will take care of my physical needs.
I want a wife
who will keep my house clean...
I want a wife
who will take care of the details of my social life...
I want a wife
who is sensitive to my sexual needs.”
The author employs
in repeating
"I want a wife"
in almost every sentence in order to
men by
objectifying women.

By using the article
in front of
the author gives the impression
• that
"a wife"
is not unique
• that
"a wife"
is common/easily obtainable
• that
"a wife"
only exists to serve specified functions
(babysitter, housekeeper, caregiver, secretary, mistress)
Brady continuously uses the phrase
"my wife"
in place of "she" to
change the meaning
of a wife from an independent
to the author's
- specifically a tool.
This change occasionally causes awkward sentences, such as:
"Needless to say,
my wife
will arrange and pay for the care of the children while
my wife
is working (Brady; par. 3)."

Here Brady awkwardly uses
"my wife"
twice in the same sentence, adding emphasis to the end.
The author uses the repetition produced by
in order to
for the reader how men objectify women in society (specifically in regards to husbands and wives).

By consistently repeating
"I want a wife"
the author
engraves her point
into the reader’s mind:

Men place unrealistic expectations upon their wives, resulting in the unfair, skewed objectification of women.

Pop Culture Reference
Sorry. I don't
update like that."

I'm sorry. I can only
do one thing at a time; I guess PowerPoint isn't one of those things."

The Windows 8 Tablet commercial
Apple's iPad by means of a
Siri. By repeating the word
before each statement she makes, Siri's words
that the iPad
to meet the viewer's expectations.

With this in mind, it can be concluded that, like Judy Brady's "I Want a Wife," the
for this commercial is
- These expressions
the sardonic tone; makes obvious that the men, among other members of this society, are motivated by self-interest in using the “obvious” factor of things

-These modifiers sprinkle the essay with

and contain


about men’s view on the common wife

the duties that Brady believes should not be immediately expected of a wife
Melida Hernandez, Barbara Marquez, Stefan Martinez, Zackary Lash
: grimly mocking, or cynical.
“I belong to that
of people known as wives. I am
A Wife

"Not too long ago a male friend of mine appeared on the scene
fresh from a recent divorce
. He had one child, who is, of course, with his ex-wife. He is
looking for another wife

"As I thought about him while I was ironing one evening, it suddenly occurred to me that I, too, would like to have a

“I would like to go back to school so that I can become
economically independent
support myself
, and, if need be,
support those dependent upon me
“When I meet
at school that I like and want to entertain, I want a wife who will have the house clean, will prepare a special meal,
it to me and my friends, and
not interrupt
when I talk about things that interest me and my friends."

“When I am through with school and have a job, I want my wife to quit working and remain at home so that my wife can more fully and completely take care of

wife's duties
• "My God, who wouldn't want


It is suggested that because she, Brady, would be the “man” of the relationship she has the ability to accomplish all of this. However, unlike a man, a woman cannot financially support herself, or be independent.

Through the words “people,” “serve,” and “not interrupt” Brady exaggerates the stereotypical mindset of the man. She is implying that a wife is not someone the man will consider a person and that a wife cannot carry an intelligent conversation. The wife only meant to serve the man in silence.

Again, the misconception that the women should shoulder all the responsibilities of the household and that she is below her husband.

Brady conveys sarcastic undertones through this final line and means to express that the ideal wife is one who is servile, which is desirable to men who wish to have a completely subordinate companion.

From the start of the essay, Brady classifies herself as “A Wife”. The tone in this statement, expressed through the capitalization of “A Wife”, acts to depict the wife as if it were a subspecies. Through this classification, she groups herself into being completely different from man.

Brady’s anecdote seems critical of of her male friend for being “fresh from a recent divorce” and already looking for another wife. By adding that he was left with a child, from his ex-wife, she suggests that his sole purpose of searching for a new wife is for her to raise his son and that, because he is a man, he is incapable of caring for the child himself.

Brady specifies the fact that she was ironing in order to highlight the stereotypical view of women and the “wifely duties” they are expected to perform. Her performing what could stereotypically be considered a woman’s job triggered her to think that, she too, would want a wife to do what a wife is “supposed” to do.

a wife..."
• Brady's repetition of this phrase mocks men, and society's, unrealistic expectations for women.
Full transcript