The housewife is able to be sacrificed but not able to choose for her family (this role goes to the oldest male). She is, therefore, disempowered in that she lacks any real control over her own destiny.
For this reason, this story is often read as a feminist commentary on the powerlessness of women in a patriarchal society; this reading, however, must include full consideration of the actual role of women in this society. To what extent are they victims of rules outside of their control? None of the female characters seem to have any power to change the way things are. They can voice their concern, but no action follows. It seems that their only viable course of resistance is to choose a stone either too large to throw or too small to have any real impact on the victims. Yet the question remains--to what extent are they controlled by their oppressive society and wherein lies their culpability? (Do they have NO power at all? Are they in any way responsible for the continuation of their condition? Have they tried to organize a resistance?)