I Want a Wife


Analysis Of Rhetorical Devices Used In Judy Brady’s I Want A Wife

November 8, 2021 by Essay Writer

Imaging living the life of an average wife in the mid 1900’s, where the sole purpose transcribed upon you by a male dominant society was to take care of those around you without question. The 1970’s gave way to a turning point for woman’s rights in America. The idea of feminism came to life during this time as woman demanded to be treated equally to their male counterparts. Some of the most famous developments that took place throughout the woman’s rights movement were the battles challenging sexism, fighting for free access to abortion, and overcoming oppression socially, economically, and politically. At the head of these battles were woman led organizations that consisted of the National Organization for Women, the Equal Rights Amendment Ratification Council, and the Coalition of the Labor Union Women. These times led way to woman moving to the forefront of society as they began to leave behind their traditional lives to take part in things such as college, the work force, and establishing successful careers. The essay “Why I Want a Wife”, written by Judy Brady in 1970 immediately took to the headlines, seen as a piece that encompassed and critiqued the stereotypical life of a wife in the mid 1900’s. Brady, in “Why I Want a Wife”, persuades her audience to see reasoning and feel a multitude of emotions towards her plea through the use of rhetorical strategies, logos, ethos, and pathos, writing not only to critique but shed light on the absurdity of a typical wife’s life in the mid-19th century.

Brady uses the rhetorical strategy of satire throughout her essay as a way to exemplify her criticism of the jobs a typical housewife had in the mid-19th century. Brady truly begins her essay within the third passage, writing about the wife she would like to have. She states:

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 takes care of the children when they are sick, a wife who arranges to be around when the children need special care, because, of course, I cannot miss classes at school. My wife must arrange to lose time at work and not lose the job.

Here, Brady depicts her perfect wife as someone who will work while sending her husband to school, and will take care of the kids while maintaining a job. The importance of this passage is that Brady uses satire as a way to ridicule the unrealistic expectations that men have of the wives. Blatantly, and rightfully without discern for manners, she calls upon an example so far-fetched and the complete opposite of fair, with the purpose of humoring the audience in order for them to realize how absurd the expectations placed upon wives during this era are. In addition, this specific example clearly exemplifies the how the relationship between husband and wife operated in the mid-19th century, as it was acceptable for the men to further their careers at the complete expense of their wives. Brady’s use of satire only increases as her essay continues, as she later writes, “I want a wife who is sensitive to me sexual needs, a wife who makes love passionately and eagerly when I feel like it, a wife who will not demand sexual attention when I am not in the mood for it”. While the first half of this excerpt may seem somewhat normal for a greedy husband in any time period, the ending during which Brady says that her perfect wife would not desire any sexual fulfillment herself, is where she strikes at her point. Using satire, she states the obvious societal expectations that are set upon a wife, but within the lines she criticizes the stupidity of those expectations through the use of irony. Brady means to point out how ironic it is of men who see themselves as sexually dominant and above women, are unable and unwilling to reciprocate any loving feelings onto their wives. Doing this, she justly hints at how men can apparently do so much for the world, yet do so little within the household for the family and the wife.

Brady uses logos in that she clearly states her argument towards the typical duties of a wife. Brady writes, “I want a wife who will take care of my physical needs. I want a wife who will keep the house clean . . . I want a who cooks the meals, a wife who is a good cook”. Here, Brady begins rambling off her expectations of a perfect wife as she overloads the reader with her wants and needs. Doing this, she clearly and logically allows the reader to come to the realization that she is arguing that the disparities between the role of the husband and the role of the wife are unfair. Similarly, she italicizes the words “my” and “good” to emphasize them, doing so to further argue that wives are expected of too much, as they both need to be able to satisfy only the husbands physical needs and have the ability to cook, and cook well. Following this onslaught of unrealistic duties a wife has, Brady, in a short passage, brings up something more personal and meaningful than materialistic expectations. She writes, “I want a wife who will not bother me with rambling complaints about a wife’s duties. But I want a wife who will listen to me when I feel the need to explain . . . And I want a wife who will type my papers for me when I have written them.” Here, Brady addresses the social inequalities between the ideal husband and wife, as the husband is allowed to voice his explanations and complaints to his wife, yet his counterpart is expected to be silent in regards to her own emotions and needs. Similarly, Brady writes this last line in a way that trips up the reader as it logically, and forcefully exemplifies the unfair expectations of wives. The pure ridiculousness of this last line is a way for Brady to voice how utterly unfair the roles of the wife are, as they are supposed to complete a task that can or has already been done by the husband.

Brady also uses ethos to become believable to the audience and pathos to gather the readers emotions in a manner that makes them agree with the stereotypical housewives’ plight. In the beginning, Brady writes, “I am A Wife. And, not altogether incidentally, I am a mother”. Doing so in the very first passage of her essay, Brady immediately allows the reader to infer the knowledge and experience that she has. This allows the reader to understand that the following argument she lays out are critiques from her own experience as a wife and mother, rather than endless complaints from someone who has no business complaining, giving her the ultimate credibility to speak on these problems. Along with her credibility, Brady uses her personal experiences to enrage the emotions of the readers into agreeing with her side of the argument. She does so by writing:

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.

Here, Brady addresses the idea that men need open relationships in order to fulfill their sexual desires. This sentence is specifically addressed with the purpose of making her female readers angry at cheating husbands. She includes the phrase, “I must, after all, be able to relate to people as fully as possible”, as a way to continue to anger her female readers by confronting them with a meaningless excuse men may use to try to justify their egregious acts. In doing so, they become more emotionally sympathetic to her argument. On the other hand, this sentence caters to male emotions in that the men reading this tend to feel attacked, and in order to step out of the heat, they are forced to agree with Brady, regardless of their standpoint on wife’s expectations before this excerpt. Knowing that she has her readers’ emotions in her control, she writes the next sentence about finding another woman to further induce anger into her female readers. The word “replace” is specifically used by Brady as a cold representation of woman from the viewpoint of men, in that they are just an object that can be replaced. Just as something so insignificant as toilet paper would be replaced when it is all used up.

Using rhetorical strategies like satire, her logical argument in the form of complaints, her credibility as a wife, and her readers emotions, Brady is able to critique the stereotypical lifestyle of a mid-19th century wife and the disparities faced between husbands and wives. Brady uses her writing ability to illustrate the absurdity of the typical wife expectations, basing her complaints against societal norms through her emphasis on wives overbearing duties. In addition, the uses her personal experience to sway the reader through the use of their emotions by creating preposterous, yet realistic scenarios that induce anger in woman and guilt in men. The reason that Brady continues to focus on her female readers is because this essay is written during the woman’s rights movement, and was intended to sway both for and opposing audience members to side with her argument. While writing like Brady’s has definitely shaken up the social standards in America between men and woman, today’s society still see’s disparities between genders, and much more is to be done. However, to persuade modern day opposition of women’s rights, arguments may have to be so catchy and ridiculous, like Brady’s work, that their true meaning is hidden within the lines. 

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An Image Of A Perfect Wife In I Want A Wife By Judy Brady

November 8, 2021 by Essay Writer

“Why I Want A Wife” comes from a short essay by Judy Brady, presents a person who would want to marry another woman for a wife. Judy Brady thinks about having a wife after she has a male friend who had a recent divorce and start to talk about how she would want her wife to be. Put in a magazine in 1990 and show of how a woman would like a female companion and how much the times have changed.

This short essay shows that Judy has for quite a while the thought of having a wife rather than having a husband. She talks to you that she would want a wife, and then ask you why she wants a wife. This shows that Judy would want i wife and she would want to give some reasons why she would want one instead of a husband. This also shows that she doesn’t want to have a typical husband like everyone else rather she would want to try something different and is not afraid to tell others about if she let this published in a magazine.

Judy Brady dreams of how having a wife would be. The sentence “I would want a wife to take care of my children”. When Judy keeps on dreaming about how good it will be to have that dream come true. So if the readers that also wish to have dreams like this (who wouldn’t dream like this) can understand how she must feel with this kind of dream. “I would want a wife who cooks the meals, a wife who is a good cook”. Any reader who wants to start a family would want to have the other person to know how to cook, but even if they can’t it would still be nice to come back from work from a long busy day and when you open the door you get greeted from your significant other with a kind voice and happy smile that can make anyone’s day turn upside down. The other thing that Judy thinks that her wife should be is that “I want a wife who will care for me when I am sick and sympathize with my pain and loss of time from school”. Any person man or woman should have their significant other take care of them and nurse them back to health. Something else I’m pretty sure that people would agree to what Judy says is “I want a wife to go along when our family takes a vacation so that someone can continue to care for me and my children when i need a rest and change of scene”. As anyone with a creative mind as someone like this writer would have a happy time being on a vacation with their beautiful wife and great kids like in the forest and the beach but I’m not too sure on that last part though.

There are some things that I would disagree with Judy is when she says “I want a wife who will not bother me with rambling complaints about a wife’s duties”. This is something i would not agree with her, unlike her dreaming wife I would actually listen to mine if she got any problems she got because someone taught me to always be a true gentleman and never disrespect a woman and listen to anyone problem and carry half there burden if you have to. There is more with which I disagree with her is that when she says “And I want a wife who will type my papers for me when I have written them”. As I read this it didn’t sit good me because that is something that i wouldn’t do because it is unethical to me and i rather do it myself because it wouldn’t feel right if someone else does something for me. Another thing that bothers me of what she wrote is that “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 resent wife with another one. Naturally, I will expect a fresh new life my wife will take the children and by solely responsible for them so that I am left free”.

In conclusion, we each have different ways of how we will treat our wives either nicely and friendly or you act like garbage. There are many ways how we should each do and the way Judy describes how she would want her wife to be is all nice at the beginning but then it turns to wanting her to do everything for her so she can be lazy and be a worthless human being, so with that I end this with I couldn’t agree with Judy in the end and she needs to think more of what you have to be to be a good family. 

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Critical Analysis Of I Want A Wife By Judy Brady

November 8, 2021 by Essay Writer

As the quote by Wyland says, “The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination and brings eternal joy to the soul.” I found this quote and took it into a different direction. This was by viewing women as the “ocean” and the “heart” as men, it shows through this quote and could be based on this essay because the women in the households are inspiring their husbands to do their best and giving them joy. This essay is focused on Brady highlighting the expectations and responsibilities married women are expected to fulfill in their marriages primarily focused for their husband and children. Brady also states that she wants to have a wife so that she doesn’t have to be dependent on another person, she is trying to say that she wants to play the role as the husband. Brady’s thesis in this essay is that women’s roles in marriages are unequal to men, in which they are the ones dealing with all the responsibilities of the family. Her purpose for this essay is to influence women to speak up for their rights and to move away from the stereotype of women taking care of everything in the house. “I Want a Wife” is an essay outlining the evidence of women being treated poorly and unequal to men. Some people to be more specific men, would say that is okay and that is their job but it is just simply them following the society during that time. I could understand both clarifications because of evidence, language, intended audience, method and structure.

This was published in December 1971 in New York Magazine. This essay was written as a speech for a rally in San Francisco in 1970. I believe the target audience is women to show them that they are cruelly being treated in their society. In my opinion, the women were resistant in these suggestions to stand up for their rights because of the society or year they were living in and they didn’t want to go against what others were saying. At the same time, they wanted to be receptive because they wanted change and were probably tired of being treated badly. The writer should have approached the intended audience in a strong and hard core way by showing how men treat them daily with a skit, and providing people of authority who would help to change stereotypes so the women would not feel as though they were alone, to also speak about their health and how stress affects their interactions with others. This is also in small way intended to men also to describe and show ways in which they are poorly treating their wives.

The examples throughout this essay were suitable, relevant for this particular type and it had sufficient amount of evidence to support her reasoning. I could say this because through majority of the examples given, Brady has outlined the responsibilities and the roles that the men expect their wives to do. All of these examples show us that the women were being treated unfairly when viewing it based on the recent times, but, in the 70s that was the rule for the women to take care of the men and children by doing all duties. As doing a research to see whether women were allowed to, it only came into existence in the early 70s. So, it could be assumed majority of the women were still playing the role of housewives. This reassures us that the fact that her evidence is sufficient, supporting and suitable to the topic.

Method and structure always play an important role to determine whether an essay is good or not. The modes of development which were used in this essay were description and narration in which she opened the essay by telling a story about her being a wife and wanting one for herself. Then the descriptive part came into which she described all the responsibilities or duties that a wife was expected to do in the 70s.The mode of development which was dominant was description. I can say this because Brady never said she just wants a wife to take of her and her children, but she specifically outlines all the responsibilities men expect women to do around their house and for their families. The order and the organization of this essay is developed in an excellent way is which she puts her points together by least important to most important. So, she starts off from the wife having to take of the children, then to take care of Brady’s physicals needs, a wife who doesn’t complain, one who will take care of Brady’s social life and wife that is sensitive to Brady’s sexual needs. Then she ends her essay by having a rhetorical question in which she makes the readers question who wouldn’t want a wife to show how important wives are in marriages. The modes and order of this essay is effective for the points Brady has pointed out because it has made her point seem truthful. She has chosen the correct mode of development because it has helped to put the reader on her side of the argument. To realize that women are treated unequal to men, they do everything and most times the men get recognized.

Lastly, one of the main roles that help develop a good essay is the language being used throughout the essay. The tone in “I Want a Wife” is sarcastic, humorous and seems to me like a casual conversation that you would have with someone. That she describes having to do the same jobs before when she was in a relationship. Now, she doesn’t like this job wants a wife to do it for her and to take care of all the family needs. All of this is humorous because she is trying to say that women are being treated unequal to men but wants a wife so she can live the unbothered life as men are doing. The tone is unsuitable to me because if you are going to be speaking about such a strong you shouldn’t be taking the approach that there will be jokes and that sarcasm will be throughout the essay. The word “I want a wife” is repeated multiple times to emphasize the responsibilities or roles a wife has to do or is expected to do. The figures of speech present in the essay repetition in the word of “I want a wife’, Brady uses this to show the selfish life of the husband and that the men expect women to do everything for them. The other figure of speech which is present in the essay is irony, to add a little humor to this serious issue. It is used to show the gender specific roles like the phrase specifying the role of the woman “I want a who will work and send me to school”. The thing I find humorous in this essay is that if it was not stated that a woman wrote this essay, I would have thought it was a man. The last device I found in this essay was hyperbole and this is the device that was easy to find. Brady overexaggerates all the responsibilities and duties that a wife has to do, she does all this to make her point clear to the readers. This exaggeration can be seen by the line” A wife who will pick up after my children, a wife who will pick up after me.”, this shows us that the women in marriages are viewed as slaves for their husband and family. The last line is” My God, who wouldn’t want a wife?”, puts emphasis on the fact that wouldn’t want a wife or a person whom they can have them do all the responsibilities and duties needed.

In conclusion, this essay has showed the evolution of women from the 70s to now as in which women are not forced to stay at home and take care of all the family’s needs, but they now get a chance to work and the family’s responsibilities is shared between husband and wife. Thanks to women standing up especially Judy Brady we now have gender equality. “I Want a Wife”, used irony and humour to make a serious situation funny. It had me engaged from start to finish and I believe it had the readers of this essay engaged. It was quite enjoyable.

Works Cited

Brady, Judy. ‘The ’70S Feminist Manifesto That’s Still A Must-Read Today’. The Cut, 2017, https://www.thecut.com/2017/11/i-want-a-wife-by-judy-brady-syfers-new-york-mag-1971.html. Accessed 13 Mar 2019.

Kennedy, X. J et al. The Brief Bedford Reader. 13th ed., pp. 460-461.

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