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Brady - I Want a Wife

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Daphne Samuel

on 1 April 2014

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Transcript of Brady - I Want a Wife

Brady - I want a Wife
Meaning #1
Meaning #2
Strategy #3
Strategy #7
Language #3
Point of View & Selection of Detail
This piece comes from a woman who is tired of being stereotypical housewife and wants her audience to view the hard work she has to do from what she believes is the male point of view. The first person PoV adds to the demanding tone Brady assumes. The tasks that Brady chooses to include are extremely varied but are grouped by types of chores. The essay does a good job of encompassing almost all of the jobs that are delegated to the typical housewife.
Irony, Sarcasm & satire
Repetition & Imagery
Almost every sentence begins with "I want a wife who..." to emphasize the stereotypical definition of wife but also the stereotypical wishes of husbands. Also, the speaker sounds very selfish. "I want a wife," "If... I find another person...," "I would like... so I can..."
Rhetorical Strategies
As Brady sees them, the duties of a wife include...
Support her husband physically and emotionally.
"I want a husband who will take care of my physical needs"
"I want a wife who will not interrupt me when I talk"
Take care of the kids.
"I want a wife who takes care of the children when they are sick, a wife who arranges to be around when the children need special care."
"I want a wife who is a good nurturant attendant to my children, who arranges for their schooling, makes sure that they have an adequate social life with their peers, takes them to the park..."
Cooking and Cleaning
"I want a wife who will pick up after my children, a wife who will pick up after me."
"I want a wife who cooks the meals, a wife who is a good cook."
"I want a wife who will keep my clothes clean, ironed, mended, replaced when need to be, and who will see to it that my personal things are kept in their proper place."
"I want a wife" calls attention to the idea that men and women are held to double standards. While it is traditionally okay for men to demand things of women, it is not okay for women to demand things of men. This piece also calls attention to gender stereotypes involving both males and females. It challenges the traditional role of the housewife and criticizes the traditional view of husbands. Men are seen as cold, demanding individuals who are self centered, while women are docile, inferior servants.
The tone of this essay is very matter-of-fact and critical. It is making a point about stereotypes, but by presenting sentence after sentence starting with "I want a wife," Brady is leaving little room for a counterargument. She is presenting her opinions like facts. The tone is also humorous because it is presenting the most blatant, ridiculous stereotypes about the two genders. The fact that a women has to make sure that she will type her husband's papers is clearly absurd. By pointing out these absurdities with a wife's "duties," she is making it clear that those stereotypes are wrong. She is also making a point about men - she treats men like they are all the same. However, this also proves that if not all men act like that, then not all women need to act like that either.
The groups Brady uses to classify the role's of a wife are...
All jobs associated with rearing children in the beginning, the most obvious role of a women in society.
All jobs associated with taking care of the home - keeping it clean, etc. is next.
All jobs associated with satisfying her husband's lifestyle is last.
These groups of classification allow the duties of a wife to become compartmentalized even more. This adds to the effect that Brady is trying to create - women are being put in too many boxes and that is wrong. Women do not belong in boxes, confined to doing things society deems fit. Women should be allowed to be independent.
The diction of this essay is relatively neutral and plain, but the bitter connotation jabs at society's "conventional" expectations of women. This ease of reading allows middle-class housewives, the most common participants in the feminist movement, better relate to Brady's piece. These work in harmony to bring out an immediate response as her audience is irked into action.
"I want a wife who will take care of my physical needs....listen to me...care for me...pick up after me...sensitive to my sexual needs..makes sure I am satisfied."
"I want a wife who will not complain...will not demand attention..will not interrupt when I talk."
Second Wave Feminist movement
Second-wave feminism is a period from the 1960s to the 1980s.
First-wave feminism focused mainly on suffrage and overturning legal obstacles to gender equality (i.e., voting rights, property rights). This era of feminism broadened the debate to many issues, including sexuality, family, the workplace, reproductive rights, etc.
When Brady wrote this in 1972, she was part of the second wave of the feminist movement.
The groups are based on the duties of a wife: cooking, cleaning, doing the laundry, shopping, and taking care of the children.
Brady wants to evoke a change in society and make women rise to challenge their current roles in society. This piece is part of a movement to create a shift in how society views the gender gap and the stereotypes involving women.
Brady's piece is very satirical of the stereotypical roles of women and husband's view of their wife. The bitter tone and the repetitive syntax create humorous yet hauntingly realistic similarities to the daily life of a mom in modern day.
Imagery is used when Brady explains the many jobs especially in the second half of paragraph 6. You can almost see a woman running around juggling trays of food while the husband sits talking jovially to his guests.
Brady uses italics in her piece to embellish the tone and emphasize certain words to make the husband sound self-centered. The short sentences also contribute to her syntax - these short sentences allow her to make points that are continually reinforced. However, she also uses longer, close to run on sentences to show the never ending list of jobs the wife has to take on.
By: Krithika Balakrishnan & Daphne Samuel
Full transcript