Feminism In Philip Dick's Time Out Of Joint

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Sexual politics is defined as a “. . . difference in the amount of power that men and women have in a society or group,” (Macmillan, “Sexual Politics”). Philip Dick challenges the social norms of the 1950s in his novel Time Out of Joint, by briefly highlighting how women in the nineties acted and looked different, but more importantly, giving a woman a position of authority. There are two types of women characterized in the novel; the women like Junie, the stereotypical women of suburbia, or the women like Kay Keitelbein who represented changing women in a changing society. Kay Keitelbein embodied the women of the 1950’s who were ready to abandon the idea of what women’s roles were and redevelop them for the future. Dick used the narrative…show more content…
She is believed to be an ordinary housewife, the generic version of women in the 1950s. As Kay was “searching” for volunteers, Dick wrote detailed descriptions of her and her thoughts about the search. Kay was no more than a middle-aged woman who was a Civil Defense Volunteer in her spare time. Women during the Cold War were vital in case of an attack because they knew how to operate a house. The Civil Defense Office wanted women to volunteer, especially since they wouldn’t have to pay the women or have them leave the house to help the country. Many women were volunteers during this era, so the reader wouldn’t suspect anything out of the ordinary. Although, Kay Keitelbein was outside of the house searching for volunteers, even male volunteers. In her first appearance, Dick already had her challenging the social norms for women. Dick did not to reveal the true purpose of Kay early in the novel, so he made sure to characterize her to be timid and grateful towards men and even feel guilty about searching for volunteers at dinner time. While she was out searching for volunteers, Junie, a typical housewife, was busily preparing the table for dinner. This moment presented the question, why wasn’t she at home during dinner time? Dick’s introduction of Kay Keitelbein portrayed the…show more content…
However, that wasn’t her character’s purpose. As the novel ends, the true Kay is revealed, and the housewife she seemed to be was as fictional as them living in the 1950s. Dick used the narrative frame of the novel to slowly show how Kay Keitelbein wasn’t a stereotypical housewife, but actually a powerful, female leader. The narrative structure paralleled the real time evolution of women and their roles. Before Keitelbein’s true self is revealed by Dick, he made sure to emphasize how the girls were dressed and behaving like men. He was trying to tell to society how what is considered normal is going to change, how change is unavoidable. After establishing this point, Kay Keitelbein’s true identity was revealed. Her line, “That’s because I am a lunatic. . .” is incredibly powerful. Not only was Dick challenging conformity in this statement, but he was also attacking the idea of women’s rights full force. Kay Keitelbein was not an ordinary woman. She would talk about food shortages and bombs. She took action. Dick gave her a purpose, a purpose that had the Military Police after her while Junie refused to quit playing the role of the stereotypical housewife. In this last portion of the novel, Dick gave his readers an idea to play with. Society needed to understand that as times changes, women couldn’t be expected to wear pretty dresses and stay in the kitchen. They should

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