"Wants" by Grace Paley and "The Collector of Treasures" by Bessie Head

Essay by killuh31High School, 12th gradeA+, November 2008

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In the short stories "Wants" by Grace Paley and "The Collector of Treasures" by Bessie Head they both have powerful similarities with the male characters. The men are often portrayed in stories as the providers, but in these stories they are liars, inconsiderate and selfish. These men behave as if they were the only ones in their families and act only to calm their cravings for something other than what their families can offer.

In Bessie Head's "The Collector of Treasures" the man leaves his family because he wants to pursue other women; other desires that he longs for. He seems to be very materialistic as well. Dikeledi's husband, Garesego, after ignoring his family, enjoyed wasting money on other women for his pleasure. He was promiscuous, sleeping around the town. Now the husband in "Wants" was asking for a sailboat but at the same time blamed all their problems on the wife.

The20sailboat symbolized luxury and the husband kept saying that she wanted nothing while he longed for that sailboat. The ex-husband always wanted to invite the "Bertram's" to dinner, so he can show off their wealth, but the ex-wife never did. She had nothing to prove to them. While the ex-husband wanted to spend all this money on superfluous things the ex-wife never cared for any of it.

In both these stories take note of the women. They are very strong women who received a fair share of abuse from their husbands, whether verbal or physical. In the first story Dikeledi realizes that she does not want her children to witness the actions of their father and decides to end his path of destruction by killing him. Even though the children will not be with her either, they will be raised by her neighbors who she sees as caring...