Customer Reviews for

Herland

Average Rating 3.5
( 7 )
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5 Star

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2001

    GREAT!!!

    this book gives a veiw of a culture without men. It is amazing to see the relgion, laws, and ways of this culture, and how three very diferent men adapt to it in three very different ways.

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 14, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Feminist concept allegory On an exploratory trip in "savage

    Feminist concept allegory
    On an exploratory trip in "savage" lands, three young American men find a country composed entirely of women. As these men learn about the history and culture of Herland, they are at first dismayed but later impressed at the asexuality and absolute social perfection of these women. For the first time, they notice the flaws in their own society and feel ashamed.

    I'm having a really hard time deciding what to think about Herland. I tend to prefer plot-driven novels, or at the very least character-driven novels. Herland was neither plot- nor character-driven...it was concept driven. Gilman was trying to convey a set of principles using an allegorical dialog. Gilman felt that women are subjugated by their sexuality. Because their economic happiness depends on their ability to attract men, they resort to jealousies and obsessions with fripperies. In Herland, there are no men...therefore they do not depend upon their sexuality to land them a desirable place in life--they depend only upon hard work and virtue. Since there are no men, they have no reason to be jealous, catty, gossipy, or hysterical. Thus, they are perfect.

    For the most part, I did not enjoy reading Herland. I found the dialog grating due to the sickening perfection of the women and the irksome sexism of the men. The men's characters were very flat--their purpose was simply to present a contrast to the perfection of Herland. The three men came in three stereotypical varieties: gentlemanly to the point of sexism, brutishly sexist, and imperfect-but-somewhat-objective observer. Other than these characteristics, the men had no personality at all. The women also lacked character partly due to their obnoxious perfection, but also due to their nature as a social "we" instead of being unique individuals. In other words, the perfection and socialism merged them into one character with many names (with the slight exception of Alima who brought Terry's brutish behavior on herself by having a "far-descended atavistic trace of the more marked femaleness, never apparent till Terry called it out.")

    I think Herland was an interesting thought experiment, but I personally didn't enjoy reading it. If your'e interested in concept-driven allegories, especially feminist and socialist allegories, then this is the book for you.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2012

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    Posted December 30, 2010

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    Posted November 13, 2011

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    Posted July 17, 2010

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    Posted October 26, 2008

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