She is as easy as an old shoe

Feminism advocates for enhancement of women’s rights with regards to social, economic and political equality. The story “The Other Two” was developed at a time when women were not regarded as equal mates to men. There are those values that they were required to adhere to, and most of them did not help in the case of actualizing equality. However, they had made a milestone with regards to gaining the right of requesting for divorce. This would ensure that they did not remain in abusive relationships just because that is what the society expects of them. Alice had taken this opportunity and moved out of two marriages. She was on her third one with Waythorn. At some point, Waythorn referred to her “as easy as an old shoe”. The theme of objectification is prevalent in this statement, and shows how Waythorn views Alice as her possession. There are several illustrations in the story that can be used to show this aspect.

To begin with, how Waythorn describes his wife shows that he has the thought of her being his property. In his thoughts, he reflects on Alice as his “joy of possessorship”. This is a word that shows ownership of certain property. It would go a long way to show that Alice did not even belong to her own self. Her actions and way of life would be dictated by Waythorn. This makes her seem like a coveted price that Waythorn had won. Being under scrutiny on any actions that she takes would be the order of the day.

There are other instances where Waythorn views his wife as property. He compared himself to a member of a syndicate and owned several shares in his wife’s personality. The former husbands are referred to as his partners in this business. How do you even come to think that you own shares in your wife’s life? This implies that you have the right to acquire her anytime that you want regardless of her stance. It also goes to mean that you have the right to discard her to any other willing buyer when she no longer pleases you. This is offensive to any woman, and it makes them seem like they have no rights in the society. It feels like their actions and way of thinking among other things are controlled by men. The aspect goes against feminism, which tries to accord women equal rights to those of men. Alice here has been portrayed like someone who would not have an input in her own life since there are “shareholders” making decisions on her behalf.

Waythorn is also not pleased with the idea of Hackett coming to visit her daughter in his house. This is something that Alice cannot control since it is pursuant to a court order, which she must uphold at all times.  He is also more concerned on whether Hackett holds any form of conversation with Alice during his visit. When communicating with Hackett on matters regarding Alice, Waythorn makes sure that he refers to her as ‘my wife’ in every statement. It is a way of driving a point home. He wants to show Hackett that he owns Alice, and she is no longer his (Hackett’s) property. These are the actions of a jealous husband. Waythorn acts as if he is insecure of his possession being taken away by another man. He treats Hackett as a business competitor that should be kept at bay. It gets even worse the moment Waythorn learns that Alice had communicated with Hackett during his first visit. That situation changes how he thinks of her in an instant. He even begins to question the circumstances that led to their marriage. According to him, it is like Alice should run everything that she intends to do through him. She has no right of making her own decisions or judgment of situations. She is Waythorn’s property and should remain that way. Only act when requested to do so.

There are several times in the story where Alice uses the words “I will do just as you wish”. These sound like the words of someone doing something that they do not like but have to do it anyway. It is like a servant subduing to the requests of the master. There are likely to be consequences if she fails to adhere to any request. Alice’s life seems to dwell under this respect. Based on the way she addresses his husband, it appears as if she has something to lose in case she does not abide to his requests.

In conclusion, the above analysis has tried to showcase that in this statement “she is as easy as an old shoe”, the theme of objectification is prevalent, and shows how Waythorn views Alice as his possession”. He compares her to an old shoe that has gone through several legs, and has attained its current status as a result. He already knew of her previous marriages before marrying her. This means that Waythorn should have been prepared of certain occurrences regarding his wife. Treating her as his possession goes against the views of feminists, which advocate for gender equality. Alice should be accorded some rights and freedom. She should be able to make her own decisions without the fear of facing the wrath of her husband.

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