Summary Of Sexism In The Young Housewife

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With Donald Trump presidential candidature in United States and all those women finally speaking up about how they’ve been treat, there is a bid debate about sexism in our society. However, sexism is not a new conversation and many authors over time denounced it. It is the case of William Carlos Williams that, in his poem “The Young Housewife” of 1916, critiqued the power dynamic between conventional gender roles by exposing in it the vulnerability of women to sexist, even misogynistic attitude. We can notice it in the women’s characterization made of facts and a sexist speaker and in the denounced speaker actions. First, the characterization of the woman in “The Young Housewife” is a proof of her vulnerability and the speaker’s sexist thinking. …show more content…
Negligees are often made with sheer fabric, which insist on the idea of her being exposed, unprotect and vulnerable. Moreover, the choice of words is not a coincidence. Negligee comes from “to neglect” and makes reference to the fact that she is left alone all day long, vulnerable. Also, this can be interpret as the fact that she neglects her dressing and remember us the society expectation for women to dress up well, especially at that time. Furthermore, the speaker also contributes to this women characterization that points out sexism. He only names her as “she” or “the young housewife” (Williams 1, 5). We suppose he doesn’t know her name but there is other terms that he could of use such as woman, lady or even madam. Instead, house-wife insist on the outside of society role women used to be forced to have. In addition, the speaker “compare(s) her / to a fallen leaf” (Williams 8-9). That comparison strongly underline his misogynistic vision. Indeed, a leaf is weak and useless if it is not part of a tree. It means that a woman cannot be independent and does not have any other …show more content…
First, the speaker is depict as being a driver in his car, which is a symbol of autonomy and power because a car gives the possibility to go wherever we want to. For this reason, when it is say that he “pass(es) solitary in (his) car,” even if it is a one versus one situation that is presented with the women, we feel that he is the one in power (Williams 4). After, we see that he uses it to roll over leaves: “wheels of my car / rush with a crackling sound over / dried leaves” (Williams 10-12). Since he did just compare the women to a leaf, his action gives the reader an image of him using his power to hurt her. In fact, he does not care about the leaves as much as he does not care about women situation. He sees them, he hears them, but it does not affect him. Actually, he even enjoys the situation because he does it while smiling: “as I bow and pass smiling” (Williams 12). However, the author does not glorify the dynamic he depicts because he applies himself to make the reader feel uncomfortable about it. Indeed, the words “noiseless” and “crackling” feed the imagery by creating a creepy mood, which makes it clear that something is not right (Williams 10, 11). Plus, we understand that it is not the first time the speaker spies the young lady when he says “then again,” and that makes the situation creepier. It remembers us that he will never get any kind of consequence

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