“I Want A Wife” summary
The essay “I Want A Wife” by Judy Brady, is a very intense essay written by a great feminist writer of her time. The essay was written in 1971, and is about how a wife should conduct herself in the eyes of a male figure. When the essay was written, it had a great impact on the feminist movement of the early 1970’s. Many male figures of the time heckled and despised her essay, but for the women of the 1970’s it was a huge step towards their own freedom from what, at the time, was considered the norm.
The tone of this essay is serious, but at the same time can be conceived as humorous, sarcastic, and even dramatic. It may have not have seemed very serious to men at the time, but woman could relate to this essay in more than one way. Brady uses ethos throughout the essay, but the first sentence is a good example of how she uses her own credibility by saying, “I belong to that classification of people known as wives. I am a wife. And, not altogether incidentally, i am a mother.” This sets the tone for who she is, and is the best example of ethos in the essay. Brady also uses logos in her essay, and has very logical arguments throughout the essay. One of her logical arguments, I found in the essay, is how men expect to much from their wives. Brady shows this by listing all of the responsibilities expected from a mother and wife. The list she provides is rather mind-boggling, and proves that some of the things men require are just to demanding. Another form of the rhetoric triangle Brady uses is the pathos reasoning. She uses this emotional reason throughout the entire essay. Every sentence she writes is an emotionally charged description of what men expect from their women, and how she believes this isn’t the way woman should live their lives.
Brady also uses many different forms of writing throughout her essay. One form she uses in her essay is figurative language. She uses this in the second paragraph of her essay when she says, “As I thought about him while I was ironing one evening, it suddenly occurred to me that I, too, would like to have a wife” (Brady). After that she begins to explain, with great irony, why she wants a wife, and how wives should act in a seemingly mans world. Brady also uses a form of writing called anaphora throughout her essay. “I want a wife who”, is used at the beginning of many sentences throughout her essay. This is meant to keep emphasizing that a wife is meant to do all these things. Although, most of the things she lists in the essay are made to be humorous, and she really believes that women aren’t meant to have such a heavy load. Brady also uses hyperbole’s in her essay to exaggerate her points. One example of this is when Brady says, “I want a wife who will take care of the details of my social life.” This is an obvious and intentional exaggeration of what is expected of a wife, since most men are usually in control of their own social lives, but it is meant to show how some woman feel that they are being used to much by their husbands.
My favorite part of this essay comes near the end, where Brady has gone over all the things men expect, and ends with a clever yet humorous ending. Brady said:
“I want a wife who is sensitive to my sexual needs, a wife who makes love passionately and eagerly when I feel like it, a wife who makes sure that I am satisfied. And, of course, I want a wife who will not demand sexual attention when I am not in the mood for it. I want a wife who assumes complete responsibility for birth control, because I do not want more children. I want a wife who will remain sexually faithful to me so that i do not have to clutter up my intellectual life with jealousies. And I want a wife who understands that my sexual needs may entail more than strict adherence to monogamy. I must, after all, be able to relate to people as fully as possible. If, by chance, I find another person more suitable as a wife than the wife I already have, I want the liberty to replace my present wife with another one. Naturally, 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. 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 a wife’s duties. My God, who wouldn’t want a wife?”
I think Brady put this at the end because it was such a powerful ending. After all the things that men require out of their women, in the end they can just replace them with someone more suitable? I believe this was the most serious part of her essay, and believe she achieved in reaching women of that era.
Now, instead of men trying to make their wives do things for them, they hire maids to do their tasks instead. If i, personally, could hire someone to do certain jobs for me the list could seem almost limitless! Although, in all honesty, I would probably hire someone to walk the dog, make dinner two or three nights a week, and fix things when they broke in the house. These are all things that I do on my own know, but it would be nice to have someone around, that I hired, to help with the tiny things in life. In the end, Judy Brady was a very influential feminist of her time, and will be remembered through the years by her amazing essay, “I Want A Wife.”
Brady, Judy. “I Want A Wife” (1971), Web. 28 Nov. 2011.