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Charlotte Perkins Gilman

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Presentation on theme: "Charlotte Perkins Gilman"— Presentation transcript:

1 Charlotte Perkins Gilman

2 Who is she? Was a writer, lecturer, social critic and feminist
Lived at a time of tremendous upheaval in this country's history

3 Early Life Born on July 3, 1860 in Hartford, Conneticut
She had a difficult childhood Her father abandoned the family Her mother had to raise the children on her own. Due to the absence of her father, Gilman and her family moved around a lot. Lived with her mother, uncle, and aunt, Harriet Beecher Stowe (author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin)

4 Some More about her Early Life
She received very little schooling but was profoundly affected by the views of her family. Charlotte's friends were predominantly young women, a theme that would continue throughout her life. Gilman married artist Charles Stetson in 1884, had a daughter named Katherine. After divorcing Stetson in 1890, she married George Houghton Gilman in 1900. 

5 “Live as domestic a life as possible”
Her Sanity After the birth of her daughter, Perkins suffered from depression that would haunt her the rest of her life. Motherhood consumed her time and her ambition Went to a sanatorium in Philadelphia in where she was treated by Dr. Silas Weir Mitchel Weir’s “rest cure” included no physical or intellectual stimulation. “Live as domestic a life as possible” sought medical help from the famous neurologist S. Weir Mitchell. Mitchell prescribed his famous "rest cure," restricted women from anything that labored and taxed their minds (e.g., thinking, reading, writing) and bodies. he roundly forbade Gilman to write Charlotte began to understand her roles of wife and mother as the root causes of her depression. She separated from Charles and eventually divorced him after moving to California to live with a friend in Oakland Dr. Silas Weir Mitchel

6 Women’s Rights Perkins developed her views on "feminist convictions" and the desire to see social reform from her family of activists. From 1894 to 1895 she was active in planning the California Women's Congresses, as well as founding the Women's Peace Party. One of her greatest works of nonfiction, Women and Economics, was published in 1898. She called for women to gain economic independence, and the work helped cement her standing as a social theorist. Other important nonfiction works followed, such as The Home: Its Work and Influence (1903) and Does a Man Support His Wife? (1915). Charlotte Perkins Gilman established The Forerunner, a magazine that allowed her to express her ideas on women's issues and on social reform. published from 1909 to 1916 Women in Economics, which was called by critics a "feminist manifesto." She argued that culture and not heredity has forced women to be dependent on men. argued that women should strive-and be able-to work outside the home. believed that women should be financially independent from men, and she promoted the then-radical idea that men and women even should share domestic work.

7 Her Writing She was known as a feminist writer who expressed her views and beliefs in her novels, short stories, and nonfiction works.  Most of her writings were based on her own experiences that she faced from divorce to depression. In Herland she used not only fiction but satire to tell a story of three American men who enter an all- female society, in which women reproduce on their own. women are depicted as struggling to achieve independence for themselves. wrote on topics including sexual equality, socialism, and utopian societies. By writing her ideas down, she believed that she could help better society for women.

8 Suicide In 1932 Gilman learned that she had inoperable cancer.
On August 17, 1935, she took her own life in Pasadena She died by an overdose of chloroform In her suicide note Gilman wrote, "I have preferred chloroform to cancer"

9 Why the Yellow Wallpaper?
"The Yellow Wallpaper" is considered by many to be Gilman's best work of fiction. Gilman wrote the short story while she was on bed rest for her depression. At first the story was seen as a horror story or a case study on mental illness, but some critics today emphasize its feminist theme. wrote from her own experiences to help other women in her predicament have some hope of overcoming obstacles.  written during a time of great change. according to many literary critics, is a narrative study of Gilman's own depression and "nervousness." offers a compelling study of Gilman's own feminism and of roles for women in the 1890s and 1910s.

10 The Gender Roles… The Domestic Ideology Women Men
Spiritual and moral leaders Woman’s place was the private domain– the home Her prescribed roles were wife and mother Ruled the public domain His role was to work and be the voice in politics and the decider of economics By the middle of the 1800s, this way of thinking began to change as the seeds of early women's rights were planted. By the end of the 1800s, feminists were gaining momentum in favor of change. The National Women Suffrage Association and the American Women Suffrage Association merge to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). The concept of "The New Woman” began to circulate in the 1890s-1910s as women pushed for broader roles outside their home-roles that could draw on women's intelligence and non-domestic skills and talents. The National Women's Trade Union League (WTUL) is established to advocate for improved wages and working conditions for women. 1916 – first birth control clinic opened, shut down withing ten days 1919 – federal woman suffrage amendment – Susan B. Anthony 1920 – right to vote granted

11 Applying Modernism- How was Gilman a modernist?
Gilman strove to understand the basis for the societal strictures that defined "woman" so narrowly. The structure of the story is unique in that Gilman used short sentence as though she was writing down  her thoughts, perhaps recording them in a diary each day. attempted to reach a wide variety of people with her social commentaries especially women, in an attempt to awaken them to her revolutionary ideas. advocated revised roles for women, whom, Gilman believed, should be on much more equal economic, social, and political footing with men. Concepts continue to intrigue feminists in the social sciences envisioned a world in which women were free from the drudgery of cooking and cleaning and could engage in intellectual pursuits—a world in which women threw off their corsets and breathed freely.

12 Resources https://www.radcliffe.harvard.edu/schlesinger-library/exhibit/woman-human-life-and- work-charlotte-perkins-gilman papermdashwriting-women#sect-thelesson papermdashwriting-women#sect-activities

13 For Homework – Monday, 2/24 Read The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman Make sure to… Talk to text Ask questions Focus on symbols, imagery, and modernist ideals. For Monday, you should have An overall understanding of the story One specific thing that interests you or you have a question about At least two examples of symbols, imagery, or modernist ideals


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