I Want a Wife by Judy Brady Journal Essay

Total Length: 993 words ( 3 double-spaced pages)

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Wife," Judy Brady uses satire and sarcasm to critique gender roles in traditional marriage relationships. To achieve her goals in the essay, the author writes in first person, specifically from the perspective of someone who lists the qualities she wants or expects in a wife. Yet instead of composing in essay or narrative format, the author creates a list of reasons why she wants a wife. This literary technique is compelling because it allows the author to impart a harsh criticism of patriarchy in a lighthearted and humorous manner.

The reasons the narrator lists for wanting a wife include having someone who will work and take care of the children, take care of all of my physical needs including having a clean house and home-cooked meals, and who will not complain. The wife will also assume all responsibility for birth control, always give in to sexual demands, and be willing to put up with my adultery, notes the author. "Who wouldn't want a wife?" is the last sentence of the essay, leaving the reader to realize why indeed it has been difficult for men to give up their positions of power in domestic relationships.

Brady uses the first person technique expertly and without allowing the essay to become too personal or self-centered. As such, the author speaks for all women who have found themselves in a situation similar to this, contemplating the inequalities in domestic partnerships. Brady uses the specific literary techniques as a way of directly relating to the audience.
In addition to first person singular, the use of irony, satire, and sarcasm are also central to the Brady essay "I Want a Wife." The satire of the traditional marriage relationship highlights the main points, just as the author chooses to use a numbered list instead of a traditional essay.

Using first person and a satirical approach will allow me to accomplish a similar goal in my personal essay. I can use satire combined with first person to avoid talking too much about myself and focusing instead on the social commentary. For instance, by talking about why she wants a wife, the author is able to show how the patriarchal standards of marriage have led to a woman being in a position of domestic servitude. Instead of using a more direct argumentative style, which might cause her audience to become defensive, the author shows how the male partner benefits from the patriarchal system of marriage while the woman does not. The descriptive writing pattern Brady uses allows for rich detail, such as, "When I meet people at school that I like and want to entertain, I want a wife who will have the house clean, will prepare a special meal, serve it to me and my friends, and not interrupt when I talk about things that interest me and my friends." The implication is that the husband….....

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Brady, J. (1993). I want a wife. Retrieved online: http://www.columbia.edu/~sss31/rainbow/wife.html

Lutz, W. (n.d.). Life under the chief doublespeak officer. Retrieved online: http://www.dt.org/html/Doublespeak.html

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