Herland | Study Guide

Charlotte Perkins Gilman

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Herland | Chapter 2 : Rash Advances | Summary

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Summary

The three men encounter several of the women—Alima, Celis, and Ellador—in the boughs of trees. Terry attempts to capture one of the women by offering her a necklace.

Once the women leave, the men then enter the town, marveling over the architecture, the landscaping, and the cleanliness. They continue to suggest that there "must" be men. Things are too well designed, too orderly, and there are children around.

The men are herded toward a large stone building, and when they revolt by drawing a revolver they are restrained and brought before the matriarch. The chapter closes with the men anesthetized.

Analysis

Here is the first confrontation between experiences and theory. This is a pattern that will continue throughout the novel. Even as the empirically gathered evidence mounts, the three men resist the logical conclusion. A world with no men is impossible to them for varying reasons. They continue to offer reasons why it cannot be. In doing so they continue to reveal their own biases and limitations more than they reveal any factual reason as to why women could not succeed on their own. They offer no factual reasons beyond the simple and repeated ideas that it cannot be.

When they encounter a group of confident women working in unison, they are treated with calm, but firm restraint. Every aspect of their capture and imprisonment is handled without drama. Only the men themselves are alarmed.

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