Power Vs. Powerless Essay, Research Paper
The Idea of Male Power vs. Female Powerlessness in
?The Young Housewife?
?The Young Housewife? is a poem by William Carlos Williams that deals with many issues. One of the main issues that this poem deals with is the conflict between male power and female powerlessness. Although at first glance the poem may not seem to be have this theme in it but Williams?s work is filled with multi meanings. It all determines how one would interpret the poem, from the literal meanings to the underlying meanings and symbolism.
In the first stanza Williams describes the woman as moving ??behind the wooden walls of her husband?s house?(2-3). This can be taken in a couple of different ways. First of all you could look at it literally and picture the girl in the house moving about do various things. You could also look at it in the way that the woman is being controlled by her husband. Williams refers to her moving about behind her husband?s walls. This signifies that the male is the person with all the power and money. He owns the house and the woman is being let to live in it.
In the second stanza Williams says, ?Then again she comes to the curb?(5). Hear again Williams is not really clear whether he wants this line to be taken for its literal meaning, which would mean that she woman is simply going to the curb, to get items that were dropped off. He could also be symbolizing to woman that stands on the curb, which is a prostitute. This meaning goes along with the theme of power control because prostitutes are under the control of the person that ?hires? them. It is degrading and gives the woman a bad reputation, and demoralizes them in a way. Going along with the idea of a more sexual theme Williams refers to the woman as ??a fallen leaf?(9). This can be taken as the woman looks dead, and has no direction in life anymore. The woman may depend upon her husband for things. Like a falling leaf, which when leaf falls from a tree it is essentially dead, and its life is over.
In the final stanza Williams writes ?The noiseless wheels of my car rush with a crackling sound over the dried leaves??(10-12). I took this as meaning that he used the girl and didn?t care what she felt and what happened to her. People drive over leaves all the time without thinking twice. It appears that the man in the story stopped to ?inquire? the woman, without really having any feelings towards her. After using the woman for a sexual purpose, the man in the story just drives away without feeling any guilt.
All of these references make me feel that that the woman in the story was really powerless and had no control in her life. I felt that she was not only being controlled by her husband, but because she was made out to be a prostitute she was in the control of every man that she was with.