Exercice - Vision of the family
List the characters mentioned in the extract and explain how they are related.
Juliet and her husband, Benedict, are invited by Matthew Milford and his wife Louisa. Juliet teaches in the school the Milford’s daughters attend.
What do the Milfords do in life? What social class do they probably belong to? Use elements from the text to prove your point.
Matthew must be a company manager. He recruits, employs and trains people.
“Every time he employed a woman, he said, he spent a year training her…”
“he wasn’t going to employ women any more.”
Louisa is a housewife. She stays at home and take care of the kids and the house.
“I know because it’s all Lou ever talks about, how hard it is managing the kids and the house and how tired she gets all the time.”
Which adjectives best apply to Mr Milford? Explain your choices.
benevolent – supportive – arrogant – generous – aggressive – friendly – narrow-minded – male chauvinistic – lazy – self-sufficient
narrow-minded – male chauvinistic – self-sufficient
Mr Milford is male chauvinistic. He thinks women are less reliable at work than men. He believes that they always prefer to raise their children rather than being efficient employees. This proves he is narrow-minded. He’s also arrogant as he makes fun of of a woman he had on the phone and mimicking her with a silly high-pitched voice. Matthew Milford is aggressive when he replies to Juliet as a “dark red colour rose into his neck and face”.
Finally, we can imagine that he is self-sufficient as he can afford to pay for the whole family since his wife Louisa doesn’t work.
Use elements from the text to show that Mrs Milford supports her husband blindly.
Louisa supports her husband and agrees with what he says. She first insists by saying to Juliet, that he got a point. She then reacts and defends Mr Milford when Juliet argues against him. Her point is that Juliet can’t blame Matthew.
James Griffioen, Mr Somerfeld or Dan Bryk? Match the following statements to the corresponding stay-at-home dad:
A) “I used to be the odd one stared at and laughed at in the playground, but things have changed quite a lot over the past few years.”
B) “Sometimes, women also forget how it’s like to run a house and look after children!”
C) “I’d rather stay at home with my daughter than have a successful career.”
A) “I used to be the odd one stared at and laughed at in the playground, but things have changed quite a lot over the past few years.” Mr Somerfeld
B) “Sometimes, women also forget how it’s like to run a house and look after children!” Dan Bryk
C) “I’d rather stay at home with my daughter than have a successful career.” James Griffioen
The following statements are right. Prove it by quoting from the text.
A) There is an increasing number of stay-at-home fathers.
B) Stay-at-home fathers are no longer seen as outcasts who have failed in society.
C) You can also have “desperate househusbands”!
A) “In the last decade, though, the number of men who have left the work force entirely to raise children has more than doubled, to 176,000. (…)”
B) “The decision to stay home with the children is seen not a failure of their responsibilities as men, but a lifestyle choice”
C) “the modern at-home father is not immune to Betty Draper disease : the isolation and tedium familiar to housewives throughout the ages.”
Use elements from the text to explain and illustrate how things have been evolving over the past few years.
To see fathers “leave the work force and join the nation’s swelling ranks of at-home dads” like James Griffioen becomes more natural. It’s even considered now as “a lifestyle choice” . At the park, dads are no longer like “exhibit at the zoo” but “the new normal”.
Textes 1 et 2
Oppose and compare the visions of society and family suggested by the extracts.
While the first text illustrates the traditional vision of the family with a husband working to support his wife who remains at home, the second one gives a rather modern image of the society in which men also take their responsibilities and choose to raise their children. In the first text, Mr Milford refuses to see women and men equal, the fathers in the second text have made a lifestyle choice by discussing with their wives about what was best for the family.
What parallel can you draw between the first extract and Dan Bryk’s testimony in the second extract?
Dan Bryk reminds us that sometimes women can also act like men used to when they thought that being a housewife or a househusband is not a serious and exhausting activity.