William Carlos Williams The Young Housewife

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William Carlos Williams is an imagist poet, who superiorly controls the meaning of his poems, using subtle language manipulations. One poem that shows this in particular is The Young Housewife. This poem is about the time the speaker was driving and sees a young housewife near the curb, calling the ice-man and fish-man to come. He compares her to a dried leaf, which at the end, he crushes with his car. This poem was published in 1916, a time when the world was a misogynistic place. Though the Women’s Suffrage movement was still prevailing, women were constantly seen as inferior people, limited by either their fathers or husbands. The author uses certain language, literary technique, and that shows the constraints of the woman throughout the …show more content…
One example was when he was driving at ten A.M. and he sees the housewife moving “about in négligé behind the wooden walls of her husband’s house.” When one reads this line, one would immediately stop. At first, I thought that she was in the négligé, inside her house. However, Williams wants us to interpret it as if the woman was behind the négligé and the “wooden walls of her husband’s house.” There is a big difference in meaning between these two statements. The first one represents a confident, young, housewife sauntering around in her husband’s house wearing a piece of clothing that she owns. But the second statement refers as if the article of clothing owns her. It’s as if she is wearing something that she has no say in. In other words, she is being used for the mere purpose of sex. She is an object that is dressed up and confined in the house and clothes provided by her husband.
Williams also uses certain details to explain about the woman. He says that “then again she comes to the curb”. Only after, near the end, he says “dried leaves” is when one understands that he has seen many women before in the same scenario. They come out to buy groceries for their home, free in a way from their husbands’ confinement. The housewife stands “shy, uncorseted”

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