In this work of literary interpretation and analysis, the reader is going to value the importance a female can have on a man’s personal & professional life. In Isabel Allende’s short story, “The Judge’s Wife” the notable changes are influences that the female sex had in the profession and personal transformation of men’s lives are very well depicted. Judge Hidalgo achieved a radical change in behavior in his personal life and at work, after his marriage to Casilda. Casilda was a shy but effusive woman who took advantage of her female attributes to modify her husband’s attitude. To prove this, the reader will be given examples from the story and more detail information to verify this thesis.
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As the reader scrutinizes this story, they have to believe the following, behind every successful man, there is a successful women. The reader will notice how Casilda noticeably changed Judge Hidalgo’s in his professional field. The Judge was a very cranky bachelor. In the village he lived in, the judge was very feared by all for his severe temper and his stubbornness. When the judge enforced a law, he did not have any account of the reasons why the accused had committed the crime. As Allende stated in the story, “He refused to apply any common sense in the exercise of his profession, and was equally harsh in his condemnation of the theft of a chicken as of premeditated murder” (284). Nobody in the village was safe from his cruelty. However, after he married Casilda the judge changed significantly. According to Lucier-Greer, “In terms of relationships, gender roles have been shown to influence peer, occupational, and parent-child relationships, but it can be argued that gender roles are most clearly evident and influential within the marital context” (225-6).
Gender roles afflict many aspects of relational functioning and development including satisfaction. These changes were seen in how the judge handled his rulings after he had been with Casilda. It seemed that she had achieved that her husband got good feelings and use his sense before he made any decisions. “To general amazement, he found the youngster who robbed the Turkish shopkeeper innocent, on the grounds that she had been selling him short for years, and the money he had taken could therefore be seen as compensation” stated Allende (284). This was a very obvious change that had occurred in the judge’s live. All of the sudden he was using common sense, something he never relied on during his bachelor years. This made everyone in the village suspicious of what was going on in his life.
The habitus is an arrangement of outlooks which are learned through childhood and yields a common sense realm. The judge had been lonely so long that he did not look for the feelings others had about him, neither did he care for the feelings he hurt. Similarly, Judge Hidalgo forgave others. Allende then said, “He also refused to punish an adulterous wife, arguing that since her husband himself kept a mistress he did not have the moral authority to demand fidelity” (284). This caught even more the attention of the villagers and now they started thinking about Casilda as the reason. The great change the judge had, verifies that a woman has the power to influence the decisions a man makes. For many years the judge had the fame that no one would escape his severe justice. This did not mean he had lost his power over the village. It just meant that he was respected more as a person. It all happened after the day he married Casilda whose love, sweetness and cunning looks were able to change Judge Hidalgo. Allende stated that, “The word in town had it that the judge was transformed the minute he crossed the threshold at home: that he flung off his gloomy apparel, rollicked with his children, chuckled as he sat Casilda on his lap” (284-5). What can be explained of all this is that women can achieve all they propose themselves. Allende illustrates a character that emphasizes female intelligence and leaves behind the stereotype of a weaker sex.
“Although men often resist a competent woman, they are less resistant when they have the opportunity to gain money or other benefits by making a well informed decision,” states Carli (731). The judge was a rough and stubborn man, who needed a personal change of attitude. He had many years of sleeping alone, during which women of the village believed that this man was not born to be a husband. What none of the women knew was that all the judge needed was a caring and loving woman. There was an instance that the judge wanted to catch a well know criminal, Nicolas Vidal. A criminal that was feared by the entire village and wanted to hurt the judge’s family anyway he could. The judge fell back to his old ways and decided to catch him using his mother as bait. He put her in a cage in the middle of the Plaza of Armas with just a jug of water. The judge expected Nicolas to try to free his mom, but the criminal did not. Days passed and the woman started to stink, yell and was suffering due to hunger. The villagers were surprised and no one could get close to her to give her food, because the guards would not let them. It was not until Casilda passes by one day with her three kids that the judge states to think clearly. The kids went over to give her water, but the guards held Casilda by her arm following orders and the kids started to cry. Allende states, “For three long days and nights he put up with Juana’s groans and the insults of the townspeople gathered outside the courtroom, but when his own kids start to wail he knew he had reached the bounds of his endurance” (287). He had been locked up in his office waiting for the day he could capture Nicolas, that he had forgotten his prisoner. He runs down to the street and the first person he came face to face with was Casilda. They looked at each other sadly, in all the years of their marriage this was the first time she went against him. Judge Hidalgo ashamed of himself, he opened the cage and released is prisoner. “Accumulating evidence suggest, furthermore, that attitudes about gender specialized marital roles are sociologically significant, influencing outcomes as diverse as schooling, household labor allocation, employment and marital quality” stated Cunningham (299). Just by the look the judge received from his wife he felt that he had failed her and put his family in danger.
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The townspeople feared for Casilda. She was seen as a young woman, who would not support the climate in the area and that she would die soon. The first time they saw Casilda, she came from the capital to marry the judge. They thought she would not last beside this man. What people did not know was that she was able to transform this man’s rough appearance on the street. According to Carli, “Descriptive gender stereotypes, women are expected to show greater warmth and nurturance than men do, whereas men are expected to show higher levels of competiveness and aggressiveness” (732). This shows that the kindness that Casilda had was rubbing off on the judge. Many people thought this would not happen and that she would not support his ways, but he had changed evidence by how he treated his kids, was smiling more and by the he showed his love to Casilda. One thing that the women of the village had against them was that they were ignorant of the power that an intelligent woman could have without being aggressive. That by showing their sweetness and female attributes could be used to transform their husband’s like Casilda had done. As stated by Saugeres, “This gender blindness continues to obscure and reinforce unequal gender relations by conveying that it is still masculine views and experiences that are the norm” (194). Significant life involvements and revolving opinions in which the individual deliberately decides to alter, or less purposely change to get a feel for new situations are considered noteworthy events. Many woman still live a life were they are scared of their husbands’ and think that if a person wants to change they will do it by themselves, but some people need help and they do not think they are doing anything wrong. It is like alcoholism, alcoholics do not think of themselves as sick people and need others help. Well stubborn and mean people are used to being this way and it is not until someone tells them of their actions, that they take a look at it.
Although women may not think they do not affect changes in the professional and personal lives of the person they are married to they are wrong. Women want the best for their families, will help the further the growth of their men professionally and socially. Casilda showed the women of the village that they did not have to be beautiful, well dressed or allowed to be controlled. All they have to do is establish their points, find a balance between firmness and love at the same time. Saugeres states, “There has been a wide variety of feminist perspective and theoretical development in feminism across the social sciences over the last three decades, moving from a focus on inequality and attempts to explain the roots of patriarchy to more of a focus on gender relations in the family, workplace, female epistemologies, multiple differences between women, and multiple identities” (194). Female just have to be themselves, because when a man values the woman by his side it makes life decisions easier. As Carli stated, “People are likely to show greater receptiveness to female influence by a woman who is collaborative and communal and whose goals appear to focus more on helping others achieve their goals than on her own benefit” (733).
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