Essay Analysis Of The Book ' Herland ' By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

1769 Words Nov 11th, 2016 8 Pages
The word “love ”appears one hundred and thirty-one times in the one hundred and forty-eight pages of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s novel Herland. On almost every page, descriptions of familial intimacy and compassion are presented, in theory, in metaphor, and in daily practice. However, the male protagonists discovering Gilman’s utopia are adamant that real love is absent from Herland, one remarking that “[the women] hadn 't even the faintest idea of love--sex-love, that is.” (Gilman 91) The three explorers, men “in [their] own deep-seated convictions of the power of love,” (Gilman 124) encounter a new meaning of “love” in this strange land, described as a nearly religious practice that surpasses selfish needs or individual passions, a universal “mother-feeling” of filial respect. The men struggle with this concept, accustomed to an expression of love as ownership; in their 20th-century American society, conservative and male-dominated, women are romanticized and objectified, not befriended as equals. Nonetheless, the notion of holy fraternal love is not unique to Herland. Sir Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis, penned almost three centuries prior, illustrates an island society also centered on brotherly love as a religious practice and communal bond. Like the women of Herland, the people of Bensalem are motivated by their love for each other, their nation, the earth, and a unifying higher power. Interestingly, both depictions of such societal love identify its lack of masculinity,…

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