"Herland": Critical Response Essay

Essay by someone7663663High School, 12th gradeA+, January 2006

download word file, 3 pages 2.0

Downloaded 37 times

In a review of the novel "Herland", by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Tammy Clemons admires Gillman's advanced interpretation of feminism, but believes that Gilman is to accustom to the traditional role of women in terms of sexuality and motherhood. Clemons says "Gilman abides by the heterosexist norms of her own culture and associates female sexuality primarily with procreation, thus negating the ability of women to have a sexuality that is in no way dependent on men." I both agree and disagree with Clemons statement. Some aspects of Herland are stereotypes of our own society while some aspects are completely different.

When we are introduced to the men, who embark on this journey through Herland, each of them have different personalities that represent male views in society. The he-man in society is Terry, the feminine male in society is Jeff, and the median between the two is Van.

In no way do these three personalities summarize every male personality in our culture. Throughout the book, we learn that the women practice a religion of motherhood which is the stereotypical female in our society. Motherhood was the only thing the women cared about. The entire society is based upon mothering the children, and providing the perfect setting for them to mature and have children of their own to continue the cycle. This idea of motherhood is essentially the stereotypical female when the book was written a century ago. Woman's only function in society was believed to have children and nurture them which is exactly what Gilman is reinforcing. Gilman also uses the stereotype that women just clean their house all day while taking care of the children. When the men first arrive on the island, Van says, "Everything was beauty, order, perfect cleanliness, and the pleasantest sense of home...