Gilman - Herland I believe that Terry the male character...

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“Herland” I believe that Terry, the male character that represents the stereotypical “manly man” sums it up best just before the wedding when he tells his friends, “There never was a woman yet that did not enjoy being mastered . All your pretty talk doesn’t amount to a hill o’beans – I know.” Gilman seems to believe that women are in a constant struggle to please men and that they do so not because they desire to, but simply because they have been taught from a very early age that they need to. Women are to carry and bear the children (a difficult enough task in itself), look after the domestic side of life for their men and appear as becoming to their men as is possible. Men “do” everything else. They are to be applauded for working and keeping up the family. The men should be worshipped for giving her children to care for and call her own. Little girls are indoctrinated into this line of thinking at a very early age. Girls do not need the sort of education that a boy will need therefore they are allowed to attend school for about as long as it takes them to learn to read. The rest of the feminine education is constructed from hours spent learning embroidery, cooking, sewing, darning, washing and other such abilities as were considered feminine and highly contingent upon the social and economic class of her father. In “Herland” women have no men to serve or be grateful to. They have only themselves to thank for their children and only each other to depend upon. These women do not need frills to be accepted as physically attractive. Gilman sells women short in her book in many ways though. She completely overlooks that fact that many women are just as fiercely competitive as men are. Some women are built to be more physically adept than others are and this fact only will breed inherent jealousy and competition. She tells us that in a land where “motherhood” is worshipped and prized above everything else and where some women are told that they can’t have a child because they aren’t good enough, that none of these women ever become angry, rebellious or vengeful. She acts as though women are somehow above those base human emotions, though I don’t believe that we are. In fact it seems to me that a land ruled completely by one sex could be no better than a land ruled completely by the other. Gilman sees our current state of “nationalism” and “patriotism” as purely male thoughts. She believes that these ideas are only an excuse to show that “we” meaning men are better than “you” meaning other men are. She sees them as an extension of ego and pride in a boastful and confrontational way. She shows us the women of “Herland” as
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This document was uploaded on 10/23/2009.

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Gilman - Herland I believe that Terry the male character...

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