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The Wife Themes & Motifs

Meg Wolitzer
This Study Guide consists of approximately 35 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Wife.
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Misogyny and Patriarchy

The most prominent thematic focus of the novel is the exploration of misogyny and patriarchy as defining societal forces; the novel illustrates how these pervasive dynamics contribute to injustice and toxic interpersonal relationships. Throughout the novel, the narrative illustrates society as largely dominated by men who bear little interest in the ideas and viewpoints of women. Elaine Mozell succinctly articulated this idea when speaking to Joan in the mid-1950s. Elaine warned Joan, “Don't think you can get their attention...The men who write the reviews, who run the publishing houses…who decide who gets to be taken seriously” (53). The novel thusly portrays of the literary world as misogynistic and male-dominated, and this portrayal functions as a thematic microcosm for society in general. Joan’s experiences with patriarchy and misogyny in the literary world correlate with how these dynamics manifest in other aspects of...

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This section contains 2,256 words
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Buy The Wife Study Guide
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