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Charlotte Perkins Gilman Research Paper

2705 words - 11 pages

With over 200 written works, Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s career as a writer is a force to be reckoned with. Many of her works, such as the ever popular The Yellow Wallpaper, are considered classics and remain relevant in today’s society. Gilman is most popular for her work deciphering women’s roles and treatment in society in the past and during her life. Gilman’s works are relatable to all women who have experienced or are experiencing oppression by society. Gilman’s feminist outlook is clearly seen in her academic works as well as her short stories. Especially in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, feminism was starting to accumulate among women of all ages. Gilman has been compared to other ...view middle of the document...

Gilman finally broke free from her strict and controlling mother and attended the Rhode Island School of Design. During Gilman’s college years, the various people she met and classes she took ignited her passion in fighting for women’s rights, although her mother’s conservative views were ingrained into Gilman’s mind as she chose to marry first instead of start her career. Gilman married Walter Stetson in 1884 and one year later gave birth to a little girl. After the birth of her daughter, Gilman suffered through postpartum depression, a common mental illness among women after childbirth. Gilman’s experience with postpartum depression inspired her to write her famous short story The Yellow Wallpaper. Gilman’s marriage was tested during her PPD treatment, and Gilman later divorced Stetson. As Gilman’s PPD lifted, her creativity emerged again as she wrote other famous works such as Women and Economics and Herland. Gilman’s feminist view continued to grow when she became a founder of the Women’s Peace Party in her later years. Gilman then married George Houghton Gilman and gave her ex husband custody of her daughter. Gilman remained married to Houghton until his death. She was later diagnosed with breast cancer and committed suicide. Throughout her life, Gilman devoted herself to writing. Gilman’s diverse career of writing stories as well as “social critique” essays allows readers to both engage in compelling stories as well as contemplate Gilman’s own views on traditional gender roles. Although she became successful as a writer, it took a toll on her family life such as divorcing her first husband and the guilt she underwent over “abandoning” her daughter and severing that mother/daughter bond in order to have a career for herself. Gilman became a speaker for all women attempting to abandon that reliance on men, and speaks from her own experience of attachment to her husbands. Her mother’s difficult experience in finding jobs inspired Gilman to speak out about women in the working force and how unfair it was for men to get hired more often than women, which she further explains in her autobiography. Gilman’s life struggles were the primary inspiration for her various works, which makes them personal and relatable to other women experiencing inequality at the time.
Today, Charlotte Perkins Gilman is identified as a feminist, or a woman seeking equality between the sexes. People in the 1800’s held a misconception about feminism and believed it proposed that women were better than men, and it could have been because feminism sounds like “feminine” i.e. not gender neutral. Although, Gilman considered herself to be a socialist and many of her ideas stemmed from social darwinism, the idea that society works the same way as nature does, according to natural selection. In her book Women and Economics, Gilman discusses gender roles. Gilman provides an example of how Americans can learn from the Anglo Saxons of Great Britain in the 5th Century. Gilman...

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