Charlotte Perkins Gilman Questions and Answers

Start Your Free Trial

In "Turned" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, what makes the ending so powerful and what is the effect of shifting to Mr Marroner's point of view? 

Expert Answers info

mwestwood eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2006

write16,150 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

The ending of Charlotte Perkins Gilman's story "Turned" is powerful because Mrs. Marroner--now Miss Wheeling--has "turned the table" on her husband, placing him in the defensive although he has come to her new home in order to learn why she has left him without a word. By shifting at the end of the story to the point of view of Mr. Marroner, Gilman underlines the egoism and selfishness of the man.

After her emotional cries, Mrs. Marroner returns to her rationality and places her once husband in the defensive position of having committed the male sin against woman; that is, of having "offended womanhood, motherhood, and the child," by committing adultery and by dismissing the exploited young mother with fifty dollars and a written good-bye. Her resolved act of embracing Greta and leaving her home with the young woman is certainly a brave and noble one that contrasts greatly with the attitude of Mr. Marroner when he discovers his house empty upon his return from his business venture.

By shifting near the conclusion to the point of view of Mr. Marroner, Gillman underscores the judgment made by Mrs. Marroner against him. Indeed, he is selfish and self-driven. Even in his search for his wife after some time, Marroner is motivated by self-interest. Certainly, he feels nothing for Greta, whom he merely used for his carnal pleasure.

In his anxiety and distress, he had fairly forgotten Gerta and all that. Her name aroused in him a sense of rage. She had come between him and his wife. She had taken his wife from him. That was the way he felt. 

Marroner's thoughts at the end exhibit the cruelty of the male ego against his own wife, and against a young woman; clearly, he is guilty of that which his wife has charged him.

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial