I need someone to respond to both questions
below and each of them should be between 250-300 words. You should choose one of these files that I attached then answer the questions. In your response, be sure to include
reference to specific moments, language, and details from the story. In
other words, be sure to include specific textual evidence. 1. What do you notice about the students’ selection,
incorporation, and/or explanation of textual evidence that relates
to their key words and thesis?2. What writing moves that the student writers make do you
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The Stepford Lies
Being independent can be either a luxury or a curse. If one is fortunate enough to enjoy his
or her independence, it can create a freeing feeling. On the other hand, being self-sufficient is
often looked down upon in some societies, depending on ones given situation. In Ira Levins
critically acclaimed novel The Stepford Wives, both mens and womens independence are
challenged. The husbands of Stepford join a group called The Mens Association, a place where
the men get together and discuss their interests, play card games, and drink. All of the men who
join the group eventually gain full control of their wives. After a short amount of time, the men
in the town change the way their wives behave in order to fit their needs. Surrounded by both
men and women who believe in an outdated traditional marriage, newcomers to Stepford may
find it difficult to have their own voice. The Stepford Wives, by Ira Levin, illustrates how social
pressure influences conformity in a community that values complete control over ones partner.
Being a new member of a community can cause a feeling of isolation, making the idea of
conformity more frequently seen. Joanna and her husband Walter, both feminists, have just
moved to a new town that favors more traditional views, such as male dominance in the
relationship. Once they have settled in their new home, Walter says, Ive changed my mind; Im
joining that Mens Association (5). Right away, Walter is beginning to change. Being the other
kind of husband in a male-dominant town can put a lot of pressure on a person, as the rest of his
or her peers may exclude them. Walter, a shameless feminist, claims that making a social change
is easier from the inside (6), though that is only an excuse to join in on the male communitys
social aspect. Walter does not want to be the outcast that loves and respects his wife while
treating her as an equal, so he gives into the pressure. Changing ones views, as well as ones
actions, in order to fit in occurs when one feels tension socially.
Inflicting too much pressure on a person to be like his or her peers can cause a dramatic
and unexpected personality change. Charmaine, a key character in the novel, has her
independence taken away in order to be the perfect wife. She ultimately wanted to be
independent, but after spending a weekend away with her husband, she suddenly changes against
her will: Ive been lazy and selfish. Im through playing tennis, and Im through reading those
astrology books. From now on Im going to do right by Ed (53). Charmaines husband, a
member of The Mens Association, has used this weekend to get what he wants from Charmaine,
his wife. Ed has now taken full control and wants her to give up the things that make her happy,
including the hobbies that have kept her grounded since moving to Stepford. The majority of
women in town live by the rules created by their husbands. By doing right by Ed, Charmaine is
being fully controlled by Ed, who, in turn, is being controlled himself by the pressure of his
community. Being her own entity was Charmaines top priority, along with a few of the other
women in Stepford that were aware of the strange changes going on. Now, Charmaine has
forcefully succumbed to being the ideal trophy wife because Ed feels the need to have her act as
such. Rather than being a loving, caring, and respectful husband, Ed conforms to the ways of his
peers in order to relieve the strain he feels by having a wife who deviates from the norm.
The need for a feeling of independence can quickly disappear when one is pressured
socially. Bobbie, one of the women in the town who is conscious of the changes occurring, has a
sudden change of heart after spending some alone time with her husband: Yes, Ive changed.
I realized I was being awfully sloppy and self-indulgent. Its no disgrace to be a good
homemaker. Ive decided to do my job conscientiously, the way Dave does his, and to be more
careful about my appearance (82). Before spending this alone time with her husband, Bobbie
was completely against turning into a typical suburban housewife. She wanted no part of the idea
of becoming a homemaker because she had a mind of her own. The influence from her husband,
as well as the other women and men in the town who live similar lives, have changed Bobbies
mindset in a way that will not allow her to think for herself. Instead of being independent, she is
falling victim to her husbands demands, along with those of a society that only accepts this
specific role for married women to play. Daves need for approval from his peers has affected
Bobbies lifestyle in a way that cannot be turned back.
Ones individual thoughts of what is right or wrong may be challenged in a given society.
The influence that a community has on its members can supersede ones own intuition. After
moving to this new town, the husbands come to the realization that it is easier to become what is
expected and fit in rather than be an outcast and stand out, and so they drag their poor wives
down with them. The women of Stepford lose their identity after some time due to the strain their
husbands may feel to fit in. Ira Levins novel The Stepford Wives portrays how social pressure
brings along conformity in a community that values spousal dominance. The ongoing cycle of
obedience can be broken if the people of a society fight against the urge to blend in, and instead,
be who they truly are at heart.
Levin, Ira. The Stepford Wives. Harper Collins, 2002.
How to Avoid Conforming
It can be difficult for a person not to conform to the trends, fads, and even the
beliefs of the people around them. When one is around a certain group of people, it is
not an easy task to resist the urge to follow along because fitting in tends to be very
important to most people. But sometimes people tend to be extremely rebellious and
tend to lose who they are in the process. When one tries to avoid being like everyone
else, it can cause one to alter ones decisions based on the actions or beliefs of others.
In Ira Levin’s The Stepford Wives, Joanna, whose family has just moved to the town of
Stepford, is a woman who strongly believes in the woman’s rights movement and tries
to avoid conforming to the unwritten rules that the women follow. But due to this
resistance, Joanna not only avoids conforming but she also avoids being who she
Levin demonstrates Joanna’s loss of self while trying to resist being like the
women in Stepford when Joanna purposely abstains from cleaning her house. Joanna
realizes that the women around her clean all day, even at night while their husbands
are at the Men’s Association, and chooses not to clean because of this realization.
Levin shows that Joanna is not only resisting conformity, but also that she puts her
wants aside: As a matter of principle she wasn’t going to do any housework. Not that
there wasn’t plenty to do, God knows, and some that she actually wanted to do, like
getting the living-room bookshelves squared away but not tonight, no sir (12).
Joanna not cleaning her house to avoid being like the women in Stepford illustrates
that her resistance to conforming is causing her to alter her actions. It is clear that
Joanna actually wants to clean her house, yet she chooses not to. Rather than doing
what she wants, she allows the women in the town to hinder her from doing
Not only does Joanna avoid doing things because of the Stepford women, but
she also makes unnecessary actions to prove to herself that she is different from them.
With Joanna’s actions at the town’s grocery store, Levin continues to show how
Joanna’s refusal to be like the women in Stepford interferes with her decisions.
Although Joanna does have the urge to conform, she quickly realizes this urge and
rebels. Levin illustrates this idea when he writes:
Joanna looked after her, and into the cart of another woman going slowly
past her. My God, she thought, they even fill their carts neatly! She
looked into her own: a jumble of boxes and cans and jars. A guilty
impulse to put it in order prodded her; but I’m, damned if I will she
thought, and grabbed a box from the shelf Ivory Snow and tossed it in.
Didn’t even need the damn stuff! (22)
While it is apparent that organizing her grocery cart is not something Joanna usually
does, she makes the decision to add something else to her cart to disobey the norms of
the town. Joanna’s action to add an unneeded item to her cart portrays that she is
allowing her rebellious attitude toward the women in Stepford to cause her to make
Joanna takes her unwillingness to become a typical housewife in Stepford as far
as to not clean her house at all. Although it may be practical for Joanna to refuse only
caring about house chores like the women in Stepford, she allows this refusal to stop
her from doing something she most likely did before her family moved in all. Levin
demonstrates this idea when he writes:
Is she right? Joanna wondered.Am I changing? Hell, no; the
housework had to be caught up with once in a while, otherwise the place
would turn into well, into Bobbies place. Besides a real Stepford wife
would sail through it all very calmly and efficiently, not running the
vacuum cleaner over its cord then mashing her fingers getting the cord
out from around the damn roller thing. (78)
Not only does Joanna compare her ways of cleaning to those of the Stepford women,
but she allows her fear of becoming a hausfrau determine her actions such that she
only cleans her house every once in a while. She is so determined to be different that
she does not realize that she is still not being herself.
Joanna, like most people, wants to be seen as an individual with purpose and
value. But, in this case, she resists conforming to the point that she still changes. She
begins to alter her decisions and actions based on what the women around her do.
Although she does not immediately change and become a housewife that only worries
about house chores, she still is not being herself. In a society where trends are
everywhere, it can be difficult not to conform. But, choosing to conform or not to
conform are not the only choices one has. One should not base ones actions or
decisions on anyone else. Instead, one should be who one is and do what one chooses
no matter what. So, while it is difficult to avoid conforming, it is important for one to
be who one truly is.
Levin, Ira. The Stepford Wives. Perennial, 2002.
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