I need help adding one more sentence to the following thesis. The sentence needs to be about the specifics Perkins Gilman contrasts in the two works. Additionally, I could use assistance formulating an outline to help me organize the flow of my argument. It has been some time since I have written a 15 page paper and am a bit rusty!
Charlotte Perkins Gilman portrays society in the novel Herland in a way that contrasts dramatically with the way it is portrayed in "The Yellow Wallpaper." In the novel, society empowers and liberates women. In the short story, society weakens and subjugates them. To understand how Perkins Gilman arrives at the ideal Utopian Society depicted in Herland, One must first examine the society from where she came depicted in the “Yellow Wallpaper.”
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The thesis statement now needs to be completed by adding a final commentary that also reflects what your analysis will ultimately show. My assumption is that you will analyze Gilman's social background in order to show that there is a correlation between that and her rationale of wanting to create a Utopian society where women are empowered.
If this is the case, then the final part of your thesis statement could say something in the lines of:
Gilman herself was a primary witness of the inequality in the treatment of women in the society of the mid to late 1800's. Her own feelings of disenfranchisement throughout her lifetime, and until her suicide in 1935, are arguably the ultimate motivators that led her to expose the chauvinistic society in which she grew up through her writings and throughout her days as a proto-feminist activist.
Therefore, a good outline to organize your analysis would be:
- Intro- Charlotte Perkins Gilman's life within its historical setting- start by pointing out where and when she was born. It was 1860 Connecticut. Who was the Pres. of the United States at that time? (Lincoln) Who was first lady? (Mary Todd) What ideals were bestowed upon women? (Victorian, prudish, righteousness, Christian, sanctimonious) Where did those ideals come from? (Victorian England's influence in the US, modern Calvinism, the Bible)
- Charlotte Perkins and her society- Write briefly about the biographical facts that directly affected her views of life as a woman: 1) father left the family home, 2) her mother had to fend for herself, 3) social shunning- she was from a rich family (the Beechers) and now her mom was a "head of household", 4) Charlotte was deprived from getting a good education as a result of her father's desertion, 5) Charlotte marries at age 24 and has her major depressive episode after giving birth to daughter Katherine, 6) By now Charlotte has been a declared proto-feminist advocating for the rights of women, 7) while suffering from depression, she was misdiagnosed, and not well-treated.
- Charlotte the activist- CPG was an open women's right activist since the late 1800's and "The Yellow Wallpaper" was published in 1892 after she experienced post partum bad treatment like the unnamed narrator of the story. By then, she already had an acumen of information that pushed her to expose society's lacklustre treatment of females. But she also wrote Women and Economics and other writings that solidified her status as an activist. Right before Herland, she wrote Does a Man Support his Wife? , both published in 1915.
All this being said, this is the point where you expose your thesis statement that Herland was written as a way for Gilman to find "that place" where her best wishes for women would come true: a place where women would find and re-define themselves as a completely independent race of more intelligent, analytical, respectful, and organized, self-sufficient humans.
Point out that Gilman had already experienced abandonment by a man, witnessing her mother take a non-traditional female role, society's shunning, no educational opportunities, bad medical treatment, and all the anger that comes with it.
Herland vs. The Nursery Room compare and contrast emotions, scenarios, men/female interactions, and endings between the two literary works.
Conclusion- This is how you conclude that her life and her works go and in hand. After pointing out her experiences, this should not be hard to do at all!
I would really like to say something more along the lines of
Her own feelings of disenfranchisement throughout her lifetime, and until her suicide in 1935, are the ultimate motivators that led her to expose, through her writing, the chauvinistic society in which she grew up shown in the "Yellow wallpaper and eventually rebeled against in Herland.
Does this become repetative? My hope is to be more specific. How does this then change the outline?
No change, and it is a good idea. As long as you back up your hypothesis with enough data to cast a good possibility, you should be fine. The suggestions that I am making are for you to focus on one aspect of her life and not shift toward her activism, which may prove your theory wrong.
Since she was an activist, it is arguable that she felt empowered, so it is not disenfranchisement then what may have tapped her motivation...then, what else could it have been?
I do not want you to fall on that diatribe so you may want to focus on searching online for CPG "private journals", or "depression and CPG", and use only Google. Just a suggestion! Thank you for using Enotes!
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