Three Thanksgivings Topics for Further Study
by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

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Topics for Further Study

(Short Stories for Students)

Research the early 1900s, and find one woman who became a successful entrepreneur in this time period. Compare this person’s real-life story with the life of Mrs. Morrison, focusing on the challenges that both women faced in becoming self-sufficient.

A longtime topic of debate is the inequality of pay between men and women for comparable work. Research the history of this debate; then explore the current situation. Plot out a timeline that depicts the major events in this debate, and write a one-page summary that describes how and where this issue started and where it stands today.

In the story, Mrs. Morrison is a widow who refuses to remarry, a fact that puts her at an economic disadvantage. Compare Mrs. Morrison’s situation to the situation of a modernday widow, and discuss the different obstacles that women from each era have faced. Use economic facts from both the early 1900s and today to back up your assertions.

Research the state of women’s organizations today, and compare them to the Rest and Improvement Club that is depicted in the story. Discuss the economic, political, and social factors that have influenced the structure of both the Rest and Improvement Club and modern-day women’s organizations.

Review several news articles from the first decade of the 1900s, paying particular attention to any articles that discuss the expected roles of women. Pretend that you are a male reporter in 1900s Haddleton, who learns of the success of Mrs. Morrison’s Rest and Improvement Club. Write an article about Mrs. Morrison and her club that is written in the style of an early-1900s article, preserving any attitudes or biases that one might expect to find in an article like this.