The Stepford Wives

by

Ira Levin

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Walter Eberhart Character Analysis

Walter Eberhart is Joanna’s husband and Kim and Pete’s father. He has made a successful career for himself working at a law firm, and he thinks that moving to Stepford is the right choice for his and Joanna’s family. Joanna, for her part, views Walter as a feminist ally, proudly talking at the beginning of the novel about how Walter supports the Women’s Liberation Movement. In this way, the novel presents Walter as an enlightened and progressive man. He even promises to help change the Men’s Association in Stepford so that it’s coed and more inclusive. This, however, proves to be an empty promise, as Walter ends up working with the other Stepford men to turn Joanna into a robot designed to do his bidding. It’s never made clear whether or not this was Walter’s original intention, or if he gradually came around to the idea of subjugating Joanna. It’s possible that he slowly became enticed by the power available to him as a man living in the sexist community of Stepford. Either way, he betrays Joanna and purposefully makes her feel crazy when she figures out what’s going on—a good illustration of how men can hide behind supposedly progressive values while still behaving in sexist, manipulative ways.

Walter Eberhart Quotes in The Stepford Wives

The The Stepford Wives quotes below are all either spoken by Walter Eberhart or refer to Walter Eberhart. 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

“And I’m interested in politics and in the Women’s Liberation movement. Very much so in that. And so is my husband.”

Related Characters: Joanna Eberhart (speaker), Walter Eberhart
Page Number: 2
Explanation and Analysis:

“I’ve changed my mind; I’m joining that Men’s Association.”

She stopped and looked at him.

“Too many important things are centered there to just opt out of it,” he said. “Local politicking, the charity drives and so on…”

She said, “How can you join an outdated, old-fashioned—”

“I spoke to some of the men on the train,” he said. “[…] They agree that the no-women-allowed business is archaic.” He took her arm and they walked on. “But the only way to change it is from inside,” he said.

Related Characters: Walter Eberhart (speaker), Joanna Eberhart (speaker)
Page Number: 6
Explanation and Analysis:

“Hey,” she said, shifting uncomfortably and smiling, “I’m no Ike Mazzard girl.”

“Every girl’s an Ike Mazzard girl,” Mazzard said, and smiled at her and smiled at his pecking.

She looked to Walter; he smiled embarrassedly and shrugged.

Related Characters: Joanna Eberhart (speaker), Ike Mazzard (speaker), Walter Eberhart
Related Symbols: Ike Mazzard’s Drawings
Page Number: 28
Explanation and Analysis:

Walter wasn’t particularly surprised to hear about the change in Charmaine. “[Her husband] must have laid the law down to her,” he said, turning a fork of spaghetti against his spoon. “I don’t think he makes enough money for that kind of a setup. A maid must be at least a hundred a week these days.”

Related Characters: Walter Eberhart (speaker), Charmaine , Joanna Eberhart
Page Number: 55
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:

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:

“I’m going out,” she said.

He shook his head. “No,” he said. “Not when you’re talking like this. Go upstairs and rest.”

She came down a step. “I’m not going to stay here to be—”

You’re not going out,” he said. “Now go up and rest. When you’ve calmed down we’ll—try to talk sensibly.”

Related Characters: Joanna Eberhart (speaker), Walter Eberhart (speaker)
Page Number: 105
Explanation and Analysis:

“You must think we’re a hell of a lot smarter than we really are,” the man in the middle said. “Robots that can drive cars? And cook meals? And trim kids’ hair?”

“And so real-looking that the kids wouldn’t notice?” the third man said. He was short and wide.

“You must think we’re a townful of geniuses,” the man in the middle said. “Believe me, we’re not.”

“You’re the men who put us on the moon,” she said.

Who is?” he said. “Not me. […]”

Related Characters: Joanna Eberhart, Walter Eberhart
Page Number: 112
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:

When had it begun, her distrust of him, the feeling of nothingness between them? Whose fault was it?

His face had grown fuller; why hadn’t she noticed it before today? Had she been too busy taking pictures, working in the darkroom?

Related Characters: Joanna Eberhart, Walter Eberhart
Related Symbols: Joanna’s Photography
Page Number: 116
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Stepford Wives LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Stepford Wives PDF

Walter Eberhart Character Timeline in The Stepford Wives

The timeline below shows where the character Walter Eberhart 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
Secrecy, Doubt, and Uncertainty Theme Icon
Female Ambition vs. Societal Expectations Theme Icon
...is a semi-professional photographer, and is interested in the Women’s Liberation Movement. She adds that Walter—her husband, who works at a law firm—is also interested in the Women’s Liberation Movement, which... (full context)
Sexism and Power Theme Icon
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That night, it’s Walter’s turn to do the dishes. Joanna has spent the day with the kids, Pete and... (full context)
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...responds flatly, even though it seems like Joanna may have startled her. Joanna explains that Walter is going to be visiting Carol’s husband later that evening, and she suggests that Carol... (full context)
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That weekend, Walter goes to the Men’s Association for the first time. He doesn’t come home until quite... (full context)
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After Joanna and Walter have sex, he tells her about his evening at the Men’s Association. He insists that... (full context)
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Female Ambition vs. Societal Expectations Theme Icon
...having an equivalent organization for women. Bobbie’s husband, Dave, is in the Men’s Association, but—like Walter—he thinks it can be changed from the inside. Bobbie, however, doesn’t believe this. Together, Bobbie... (full context)
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Walter goes to the Men’s Association for the third time. That evening, he calls Joanna and... (full context)
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Five men come home with Walter. One of them is Ike Mazzard, a magazine illustrator famous for his depictions of beautiful... (full context)
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...She asks him to stop, but he tells her to relax. When she looks to Walter for reinforcement, he just awkwardly laughs. The other men seem uncomfortable and try to keep... (full context)
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...who would enjoy making people happy. Later that night, after everyone has left, Joanna tells Walter that she doesn’t like Dale, and he says that hopefully Dale will lose reelection as... (full context)
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...things left behind by the previous owners of the house. The family before she and Walter moved in only lived there for two months before leaving for Canada. The family before... (full context)
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...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 of a disaster at... (full context)
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In the end, the dinner party doesn’t go very well. Walter spends the whole time talking about work with one of the other men, and Joanna’s... (full context)
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Secrecy, Doubt, and Uncertainty Theme Icon
...later, Joanna meets up with Bobbie, who has gone to see Charmaine’s transformation for herself (Walter, for his part, suggests that Charmaine’s husband simply must have “laid the law down to... (full context)
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That night, Walter asks Joanna what’s bothering her. She didn’t intend to bring it up, but she tells... (full context)
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Dave had the same reaction as Walter: he isn’t opposed to moving but doesn’t want to do it before the end of... (full context)
Chapter 2
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Shortly before Christmas, Bobbie asks Joanna if she and Walter will watch one of her kids for the weekend. She explains that she and Dave... (full context)
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When Bobbie goes to kiss Walter goodbye on the cheek, Walter hesitates for a moment, as if he doesn’t want to... (full context)
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Female Ambition vs. Societal Expectations Theme Icon
...smoked pot over the weekend—maybe that’s why Bobbie seems different. She brings it up with Walter, but he says she’s probably just tired from all the house hunting she has been... (full context)
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Joanna rushes home and calls Walter at the office. She’s determined to move out of Stepford as soon as possible, but... (full context)
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Walter is angry when he gets home, thinking that Joanna is blowing things out of proportion.... (full context)
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Joanna is taken aback by Walter’s comment about her looks, and she wonders if he wanted to move to Stepford because... (full context)
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As she talks to Walter, Joanna realizes that both Charmaine and Bobbie changed after spending a weekend alone with their... (full context)
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When Joanna gets home, Walter is angry and worried because she didn’t call to say she was at the library.... (full context)
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Joanna feels as if Walter has moved up their weekend alone together. Terrified, she tries to leave the house, but... (full context)
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...storm window won’t budge. As she tries to figure out how to leave, she hears Walter dialing the phone downstairs and fears that he’s calling Dale Coba. She creeps to the... (full context)
Sexism and Power Theme Icon
Equality and Societal Change Theme Icon
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...Plus, she has to hide every time a car goes by, as she suspects that Walter and the other men will be looking for her. Sure enough, when one car goes... (full context)
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The three men sound very sympathetic. They say that Walter told them what Joanna thinks is going on—they’re there to assure her that nobody’s making... (full context)
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...with Dr. Margaret Fancher when all of this is over. She feels guilty for distrusting Walter, too. (full context)