The second wave of the feminist movement in the United States began during early 1960’s and lasted throughout late 1970’s. The purpose of the feminist movement was to have a right to vote and have the same equal rights as male citizens. Judy Brady’s essay “I Want A Wife” first appeared in the Ms. Magazine’s inaugural issue in 1971. The genre of the article is a classic piece of feminist humor and is depicted as satirical prose. In this essay Brady aims to convince her readers to look objectively at a man’s viewpoints and expectations of what he thinks a wife is and what she should be. Brady skillfully uses clear arguments, repetition of key words and stylish language to make her essay strong and convincing.
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Exigence: Judy Brady writes in her essay about the demands that are required from wife. She emphasizes the point that the roles of wife are unfair to the role of husband, and that there is an obvious difference, inequality, between the roles of husband and wife. Brady writes about this because she is tired of the feeling of inferiority to men and that the work that wife undertakes is overlooked. Brady illustrates her point by listing the numerous tasks that are commonly expected from wife. “I want a wife who will have the house clean, keep my clothes clean, ironed, mended, replaced when need be, and who will see to it that my personal things are kept in their proper place so that I can find what I need the minute I need it .” After listing all this numerous outrageous tasks, she concludes the article with an emotional statement, “My God, who wouldn’t want a wife?”
Audience: Clearly Judy Brady is writing to married men and women. This can be inferred because the article is about expectations of a wife in a marriage. But not only does she write for married couples, she also writes to men and women in general. The fact that person is married or not doesn’t matter in this article. The audience is expected to know a little bit about divorce and marriage life. The audience is also presumed at least to have a high school level of reading and basic understanding of words such as “adherence”, “monogamy”, and “nurturance”. She is trying to get out to the public that these expectations and these stereotypes of roles of women, should stop. This goes back to her exigence, which is the unfairness of roles of women.
Purpose: Why should people read and act upon her statements? With her arguments, she is trying to say, “All women stop! You don’t have to act this way.” She wants women to stop immediately acting as ‘slaves.’ Her constant phrase “I want a wife to…” rattles up emotions of readers, which in turn, might encourage people to take action. The reason she wants people to read it is because she wants people to understand that the roles of women is demoralizing to them. Brady classifies what a wife is through husband’s eyes. Brady connects wit and sarcasm, effective use of language, and rhetoric to make a very strong piece of influential writing with the purpose to show how men see their wives. This piece of rhetoric ultimately implies the husband’s selfishness and laziness, and his want to be “left free”. This article was made to make the audience to think and ponder.
Brady effectively uses the Greek umbrella term, Rhetoric, which is clearly organized and very well thought out. Rhetoric means the art of using language to communicate effectively and images to affect an audience. Brady uses Rhetoric throughout her essay involving three audience appeals: Ethos, Pathos and Logos.
Ethos: She establishes her credibility in the first couple of paragraphs of her argument. “I belong to that classification of people known as wives. I am A Wife, not altogether incidentally, I am a mother.” Not only does her being a wife make her creditable, she also seems to have a lot of knowledge and this gives the audience to know that she really knows something about her subject. And all that knowledge of what the wife roles are does not come from anywhere. She must have experienced it herself to know what the roles of women are. She lists numerous ‘jobs’ that are expected of a wife and her language sounds that of a fed up and annoyed wife. In addition, her article was printed in the spring 1972 issue of Ms. Magazine which sets her credibility for the article. Moreover, she was an activist for the feminist movement.
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Pathos: When reading her article, she wants people to take action. She wants people to get angry at the topic. She also wants the men who expect this from women to feel jealous. She does this by first stating who she is. “I belong to that classification of people known as wives.” She addresses the stresses of everyday life and exaggerated expectations of a man from their wives. Then she goes on by listing the ‘jobs’ required by women. After couple pages of ‘jobs’ she says, “My God, who wouldn’t want a wife?” This conclusion is very emotional towards the argument and it makes the readers to conclude that, “This is wrong!” Brady says that to ‘discourage’ men who think the practice of treating women as inferior human beings. Brady also appeals to readers who are clueless or curious. Many women do not now what things they are doing wrong. By reading this essay, women can evaluate their life and determine if they are expected too much from their husbands.
Logos: Judy Brady arguments are clear in her article. One of her arguments is that women are required to do too much. She doesn’t say this directly, but says this by listing the role of women. Another argument that she presents is the inequality of men and women. In her article she writes that she is a man that wants to go to school and be supported financially. And there is a female spouse that must take care of the house, kids, appointments, money, and social life. She argues that this must stop and that people are expecting too much from women. Her arguments are very effective. Her credibility attracts readers to her article. And by listing the ‘jobs’ of women, one by one; she captivates her readers into her arguments. Her simple words are extremely effective in getting out her views.
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