Essay on Looking Backward By Edward Bellamy

1473 Words Feb 22nd, 2016 6 Pages
In 1888, Edward Bellamy published a novel called Looking Backward. This novel was about a 19th century man who accidentally traveled to the future where a utopian society had been created in which all social, economic, and political issues have been resolved. Bellamy uses his main characters to juxtapose the 19th century society to that of the created utopian society in his book. Through this, he identifies the problems he sees in his society and provides solutions to them. At one point in the novel, Bellamy writes about the problems women faced and how in his utopia, all women are happy and completely satisfied with their place in society. If we critique Bellamy’s Looking Backward using the perspective of Charlotte Perkins Gilman, a feminist critique and author of The Yellow Wallpaper, we can see that Bellamy did correctly identify secondary problems women faced, but solved these problems incorrectly. He gave women more freedom, but does not make them equal to men. Bellamy’s utopia in Looking Backward is only a utopia for males, and while women do have more freedom, the possible solutions Bellamy discusses are greatly flawed. While Bellamy did identify some problems 19th century women faced, he did not understand the main, underlying problem: gender inequality. Through the character doctor Leete, Bellamy points out the numerous problems he sees in his own time period. The main problems he points out about women are that women cannot have professional careers, women…

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