The Role Of Women In The Book “The Farmer’s View Of His Wife”

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Through Elizabeth Farnham’s, Life in Prairie Land´s, A Farmer’s View of His Wife, there is a revelation that the real reason the farmer wants a wife is for labor as he compares her to an animal, objectifies her, and expects her to be unthinking.

In the early 18th century until women became citizens, women, alongside slaves, indentured servants, and others were neglected from absolute freedom. It was expected of women to bore children, educate them, run the household, and devote themselves to their husbands. Though some men treated their wives with more equality, such as John Adams, most discussions during the revolutionary era promoted that women´s roles were of obligation, and not of liberty and individuality.

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This form of mentality can be seen in the farmer who is talking about he had been thinking about getting a wife for his cabin. While describing a woman, he adds that she should idealistically be plump. When asked if he picks a woman solely based on her size, he confessed that to him, women are like horses and oxen in which case he wants the biggest one who is capable of doing the most work. Since at the time that this took place, agriculture was their main dependence, and the early agricultural machines were invented in the early 19th century with limited availability to those who could purchase them, many depended on animals for heavy labor on the farm. In the same sense, this farmer wanted a wife to help him with labor on the farm and with chores around the house.

Not only does he go as far as to say that a wife is on the same level as an animal, but he also mentions that there is no reason to have a woman if she is of no use. The reason why he was getting one in the first place is that he had another man’s wife do all his laundry and other chores. Thought that it was about time to get one of his own. The narrator asks about his thoughts on her possible future thoughts, and emotional appeals; to which he responds with a lack of consideration. He objectifies her by putting aside any emotions his future wife may have by justifying that she will not have any as long as she is fed and given clothes. At this point, he is no longer referring to her as an animal since animals are known to have feelings as well, but rather an object, or machine that will function properly when it is given batteries, oil, or protection from extreme heat and cool temperatures.

Near the end of the passage, the speaker states that if someone is to marry him, then she perhaps would agree to the terms that he has set forth. In response to this, the farmer once again comments to the narrator that his wife’s thoughts and opinions hold no value. Aside from that, she was expected to think just as he does, or not at all which is a direct reflection of the society in which many people at that time considered it normal that women to be submissive and unthinking. Having said this, he is adding to his previous belief that his wife would essentially be an object because they cannot think. This expectation that women were mostly incapable of thinking at the same level as men, or inputting opinions that were of any value was quite popular at this time until women started to seek rights.

Through this specific passage, Farnham not only reveals that it was not only this farmer that compared a woman to an animal but will objectify her by neglecting her emotional needs and seeing women as incapable of thinking. The majority of the American people used this concept and way of thinking to construct their family ideals and roles of each gender in their current societies.

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The Role Of Women In The Book “The Farmer’s View Of His Wife”. (2022, May 15). Retrieved from

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