was he doing whats best for his wife.
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I think that John is kind of oblivious to his wife's anxieties. He is part of the patriarchal mind set of the time. He didn't really believe that his wife wanted or needed an identity outside simply staying at home and being his wife. His patronizing attitude is probably part of his personality rather than a conscious choice to be cruel to his wife.
I wanted to add. Having said that, John did lock her in a room. I suppose at some level he had to know this wasn't simply rest and relaxation for his wife.