The Stepford Wives

by

Ira Levin

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Bobbie Markowe Character Analysis

Bobbie Markowe is Joanna’s best friend in Stepford. Like Joanna, she’s a feminist who’s put off by the fact that the other women in Stepford only care about housework and pleasing their husbands. Along with Joanna, she tries to find women who might be interested in forming an all-female club, and when this doesn’t work, she starts thinking about moving. She even wonders if there’s something in the town’s drinking water that makes women passive and subservient. Before she manages to move out of town, though, her husband, Dave, turns her into a robot with the help of the other members of the Men’s Association. Because Bobbie was even more outspoken and scornful of housework than Joanna was, her transformation into a traditional and passive housewife is all the more shocking, ultimately prompting Joanna to do whatever she can to save herself from the same fate.

Bobbie Markowe Quotes in The Stepford Wives

The The Stepford Wives quotes below are all either spoken by Bobbie Markowe or refer to Bobbie Markowe. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Sexism and Power Theme Icon
).
Chapter 1 Quotes

They spent a morning calling on women together, on the theory (Bobbie’s) that the two of them, speaking in planned ambiguities, might create the encouraging suggestion of a phalanx of women with room for one more. It didn’t work.

“Jee-zus!” Bobbie said, ramming her car viciously up Short Ridge Hill. “Something fishy is going on here! We’re in the Town that Time Forgot!”

Related Characters: Bobbie Markowe (speaker), Joanna Eberhart
Page Number: 22-23
Explanation and Analysis:

“Joanna,” Bobbie said, “I think there’s something here. In Stepford. It’s possible, isn’t it? All those fancy plants on Route Nine—electronics, computers, aerospace junk, with Stepford Creek running right behind them—who knows what kind of crap they’re dumping into the environment.”

“What do you mean?” Joanna said.

“Just think for a minute,” Bobbie said. She fisted her free hand and stuck out its pinky. “Charmaine’s changed and become a hausfrau,” she said. She stuck out her ring finger. “The woman you spoke to, the one who was president of the club; she changed, didn’t she, from what she must have been before?”

Related Characters: Bobbie Markowe (speaker), Joanna Eberhart, Charmaine , Kit Sundersen
Page Number: 56
Explanation and Analysis:

“Even if I’m wrong,” Bobbie said with her mouth full, “even if there’s no chemical doing anything”—she swallowed—“is this where you really want to live? We’ve each got one friend now, you after two months, me after three. Is that your idea of the ideal community? I went into Norwood to get my hair done for your party; I saw a dozen women who were rushed and sloppy and irritated and alive; I wanted to hug every one of them!”

Related Characters: Bobbie Markowe (speaker), Joanna Eberhart
Page Number: 58
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 2 Quotes

“How was the second honeymoon?” Walter asked.

“Better than the first,” Dave said. “Just shorter, that’s all.” He grinned at Walter.

Joanna looked at Bobbie, expecting her to say something funny. Bobbie smiled at her and looked toward the stairs.

Related Characters: Walter Eberhart (speaker), Dave Markowe (speaker), Joanna Eberhart, Bobbie Markowe
Page Number: 76
Explanation and Analysis:

“Speak to you tomorrow,” Joanna said.

“Sure,” Bobbie said. They smiled at each other. Bobbie moved to Walter at the door and offered her cheek. He hesitated—Joanna wondered why—and pecked it.

Related Characters: Joanna Eberhart (speaker), Bobbie Markowe (speaker), Walter Eberhart, Dave Markowe
Page Number: 77
Explanation and Analysis:

“I spoke to Bobbie tonight,” she said. “She sounded—different, washed out.”

“She’s probably tired from all that running around she’s been doing,” Walter said, emptying his jacket pockets onto the bureau.

“She seemed different Sunday too,” Joanna said. “She didn’t say—”

“She had some make-up on, that’s all,” Walter said. “You’re not going to start in with that chemical business, are you?”

Related Characters: Joanna Eberhart (speaker), Walter Eberhart (speaker), Bobbie Markowe, Dave Markowe
Page Number: 81
Explanation and Analysis:

In her immaculate kitchen she said, “Yes, I’ve changed. I realized I was being awfully sloppy and self-indulgent. It’s no disgrace to be a good homemaker. I’ve decided to do my job conscientiously, the way Dave does his, and to be more careful about my appearance. Are you sure you don’t want a sandwich?”

Related Characters: Bobbie Markowe (speaker), Joanna Eberhart, Dave Markowe, Charmaine
Page Number: 82
Explanation and Analysis:

He came closer to her. “There’s nothing in the water, there’s nothing in the air,” he said. “They changed for exactly the reasons they told you: because they realized they’d been lazy and negligent. If Bobbie’s taking an interest in her appearance, it’s about time. It wouldn’t hurt you to look in the mirror once in a while.”

She looked at him, and he looked away, flushing, and looked back at her. “I mean it,” he said. “You’re a very pretty woman and you don’t do a damn thing with yourself any more unless there’s a party or something.”

Related Characters: Walter Eberhart (speaker), Joanna Eberhart, Bobbie Markowe
Page Number: 86
Explanation and Analysis:

“[…] Now look, I’m trying to see this from your viewpoint and make some kind of fair judgment. You want to move because you’re afraid you’re going to ‘change’; and I think you’re being irrational and—a little hysterical, and that moving at this point would impose an undue hardship on all of us, especially Pete and Kim.”

Page Number: 87
Explanation and Analysis:

“I’ve begun to suspect—” Joanna said. “Oh Jesus, ‘suspect’; that sounds so—” She worked her hands together, looking at them.

Dr. Fancher said, “Begun to suspect what?”

She drew her hands apart and wiped them on her skirt. “I’ve begun to suspect that the men are behind it,” she said.

Page Number: 92
Explanation and Analysis:

She was wrong, she knew it. She was wrong and frozen and wet and tired and hungry, and pulled eighteen ways by conflicting demands. Including to pee.

If they were killers, they’d have killed her then. The branch wouldn’t’ have stopped them, three men facing one woman.

[…]

Bobbie would bleed. It was coincidence that Dale Coba had worked on robots at Disneyland, that Claude Axhelm thought he was Henry Higgins, that Ike Mazzard drew his flattering sketches. Coincidence, that she had spun into—into madness. Yes, madness.

Related Symbols: Ike Mazzard’s Drawings
Page Number: 115
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 3 Quotes

“I want to get it done with,” she said. “Otherwise I won’t enjoy next weekend.”

Related Characters: Ruthanne Henry (speaker), Joanna Eberhart, Bobbie Markowe
Page Number: 123
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Stepford Wives PDF

Bobbie Markowe Character Timeline in The Stepford Wives

The timeline below shows where the character Bobbie Markowe appears in The Stepford Wives. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Sexism and Power Theme Icon
Equality and Societal Change Theme Icon
Female Ambition vs. Societal Expectations Theme Icon
The next day, Joanna is introduced on the phone to a woman named Bobbie Markowe. Bobbie moved to Stepford just five weeks ago and is eager to meet Joanna... (full context)
Sexism and Power Theme Icon
Equality and Societal Change Theme Icon
Female Ambition vs. Societal Expectations Theme Icon
Standing in the kitchen (which Bobbie praises for being dirty), Joanna is relieved to hear Bobbie talk about how dull all... (full context)
Sexism and Power Theme Icon
Equality and Societal Change Theme Icon
Secrecy, Doubt, and Uncertainty Theme Icon
Female Ambition vs. Societal Expectations Theme Icon
Both Bobbie and Joanna talk to as many women as they can in the next few days.... (full context)
Sexism and Power Theme Icon
Equality and Societal Change Theme Icon
Female Ambition vs. Societal Expectations Theme Icon
The next day, Joanna learns that Bobbie finally found a woman living in Stepford who doesn’t care about housekeeping. Her name is... (full context)
Sexism and Power Theme Icon
Equality and Societal Change Theme Icon
Secrecy, Doubt, and Uncertainty Theme Icon
...the coming weeks and months, Joanna spends time playing tennis at Charmaine’s house and seeing Bobbie almost every day. Walter, meanwhile, is forced to work late for a long period because... (full context)
Sexism and Power Theme Icon
Secrecy, Doubt, and Uncertainty Theme Icon
...other men, and Joanna’s out-of-town male friends ogle Charmaine because she’s in a lowcut dress. Bobbie, for her part, isn’t talkative at the dinner party because she has laryngitis from recording... (full context)
Sexism and Power Theme Icon
Secrecy, Doubt, and Uncertainty Theme Icon
A few days later, Joanna meets up with Bobbie, who has gone to see Charmaine’s transformation for herself (Walter, for his part, suggests that... (full context)
Sexism and Power Theme Icon
Equality and Societal Change Theme Icon
Secrecy, Doubt, and Uncertainty Theme Icon
Female Ambition vs. Societal Expectations Theme Icon
Bobbie points out that Charmaine used to play tennis with another woman who suddenly lost interest,... (full context)
Equality and Societal Change Theme Icon
...what’s bothering her. She didn’t intend to bring it up, but she tells him about Bobbie’s theory about chemicals. She also says that Bobbie wants to move. Walter asks if Joanna... (full context)
Sexism and Power Theme Icon
Equality and Societal Change Theme Icon
...doesn’t want to do it before the end of the school year. In the meantime, Bobbie tells Joanna, she’s going to drink bottled water. They decide to write a letter to... (full context)
Chapter 2
Sexism and Power Theme Icon
Secrecy, Doubt, and Uncertainty Theme Icon
Joanna has decided that she’ll only move if she finds a perfect house. Bobbie, on the other hand, is pushing forward with the idea, spending almost every day looking... (full context)
Sexism and Power Theme Icon
Secrecy, Doubt, and Uncertainty Theme Icon
Shortly before Christmas, Bobbie asks Joanna if she and Walter will watch one of her kids for the weekend.... (full context)
Equality and Societal Change Theme Icon
Female Ambition vs. Societal Expectations Theme Icon
...racist but because of how strange the women are, going on to explain her and Bobbie’s theories. (full context)
Secrecy, Doubt, and Uncertainty Theme Icon
That weekend is complete chaos for Joanna as she tries to get her kids and Bobbie’s son to behave. By the end of the day on Sunday, she’s deeply relieved to... (full context)
Secrecy, Doubt, and Uncertainty Theme Icon
When Bobbie goes to kiss Walter goodbye on the cheek, Walter hesitates for a moment, as if... (full context)
Sexism and Power Theme Icon
Secrecy, Doubt, and Uncertainty Theme Icon
Female Ambition vs. Societal Expectations Theme Icon
Two days pass. Joanna doesn’t hear from Bobbie, which is strange because she usually calls every day. Finally, Joanna calls her and is... (full context)
Sexism and Power Theme Icon
Equality and Societal Change Theme Icon
Secrecy, Doubt, and Uncertainty Theme Icon
Female Ambition vs. Societal Expectations Theme Icon
The next day, Joanna goes to Bobbie’s. Bobbie apologizes for forgetting that they planned to get together—she has been busy. She invites... (full context)
Sexism and Power Theme Icon
Secrecy, Doubt, and Uncertainty Theme Icon
...to find out the lowest possible asking price for a house she recently saw with Bobbie. She also calls her old broker and says that she might want to relist their... (full context)
Sexism and Power Theme Icon
Secrecy, Doubt, and Uncertainty Theme Icon
Female Ambition vs. Societal Expectations Theme Icon
...in Stepford clearly takes four months to kick in—that’s what happened to both Charmaine and Bobbie. Joanna moved to Stepford one month after Bobbie, meaning that she only has a month... (full context)
Sexism and Power Theme Icon
Secrecy, Doubt, and Uncertainty Theme Icon
Female Ambition vs. Societal Expectations Theme Icon
As she talks to Walter, Joanna realizes that both Charmaine and Bobbie changed after spending a weekend alone with their husbands. She now fears that this is... (full context)
Sexism and Power Theme Icon
Secrecy, Doubt, and Uncertainty Theme Icon
Female Ambition vs. Societal Expectations Theme Icon
...with Dr. Margaret Fancher, whose practice is several towns over. She leaves her children at Bobbie’s house when she goes to the appointment, briefly going inside and asking Bobbie what happened... (full context)
Sexism and Power Theme Icon
Secrecy, Doubt, and Uncertainty Theme Icon
...distance—while shining her flashlight on them so they know she’s still there—until they get to Bobbie’s house. One of the men runs ahead to make sure Bobbie is home and to... (full context)
Sexism and Power Theme Icon
Equality and Societal Change Theme Icon
Secrecy, Doubt, and Uncertainty Theme Icon
On the walk to Bobbie’s, Joanna realizes she has been wrong all along. She can just tell that Bobbie will... (full context)
Sexism and Power Theme Icon
Equality and Societal Change Theme Icon
Secrecy, Doubt, and Uncertainty Theme Icon
Joanna and the men reach Bobbie’s house. The men say they’ll wait outside while Joanna goes inside with Bobbie, but Joanna... (full context)
Sexism and Power Theme Icon
Equality and Societal Change Theme Icon
Secrecy, Doubt, and Uncertainty Theme Icon
Female Ambition vs. Societal Expectations Theme Icon
Joanna goes into the kitchen with Bobbie, who is perfectly happy to help put her friend’s mind at ease. As they talk,... (full context)