Herland

Herland

3.9 8
by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
     
 

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Herland is a utopian novel written by feminist Charlotte Perkins Gilman. The book describes an isolated society composed entirely of women who reproduce via parthenogenesis. The result is an ideal social order, free of war, conflict and domination.

The story is told from the perspective of Van Jennings, a student of sociology who, along with two friends, Terry O.

Overview

Herland is a utopian novel written by feminist Charlotte Perkins Gilman. The book describes an isolated society composed entirely of women who reproduce via parthenogenesis. The result is an ideal social order, free of war, conflict and domination.

The story is told from the perspective of Van Jennings, a student of sociology who, along with two friends, Terry O. Nicholson and Jeff Margrave, forms an expedition party to explore an area of unchartered land where it is rumored lives a society consisting entirely of women. The three friends do not really believe the rumors as they are unable to conceive of how human reproduction could occur without males. The men speculate about what a society of women would be like, each guessing differently based on the stereotype of women which he holds most dear.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781617202070
Publisher:
Wilder Publications
Publication date:
01/24/2011
Pages:
128
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.30(d)

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Herland 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
The_hibernators More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Despite the outdated feminist perspective, it is a delightful tale that challenges many of our present day perspective on women and their place/role in our society.
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