Though Mary Carson is much like Rasheed in that she is self-serving and opportunistic, Luke O’Neill and Rasheed share qualities that reveal similar views about male–female partnerships and their roles as husbands and fathers. Both Rasheed are Luke have traditional views of marriage in that they believe that the man is the head of the household and that a woman’s job is to support her husband’s goals and cater to his needs. For both men, those needs include having a son—and both believe it is the woman’s duty to give him one.
The belief that a man should be the head of the household and that a woman should be subservient to him is a belief that many people of past times embraced, but both Rasheed and Luke O’Neill are corrupted by their relentless pursuit of goals that, in their view, require them to use the women in their life to feel whole and successful. These men value their women only for what they can give them, and both see their wives not as whole people but as extensions of themselves. Rasheed may be motivated by hurt and heartbreak, as he is obsessed with the idea of replacing the son he lost. However, because both he and Luke value women only for their ability to support them and give them male heirs, both consider their wives failures when they are unable to do so, and they treat them as if they were worthless. Both men seem to link the ability to produce sons with their manhood, and also with their wives’ womanhood. Therefore, when their wives are unable to provide them with sons, the men lash out at their wives, as if they have not only failed as women but somehow made their husbands lesser men.