Women's Voice

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The Necessity of Listening to the Women’s Voice and of Cooperation “We talked and talked. We took long walks together. She showed me things, explained them, interpreted much that I had not understood. Through her sympathetic intelligence I became more and more comprehensive of the spirit of the people of Herland.” (Gilman, Herland 114) This quote from Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Herland, though indirectly, shows one of the main features of utopian novels, genre to which Herland belongs: the attempt to give voice to the oppressed. In fact, it shows how the male narrator listening and talking to Ellador, one of the women of the utopian world, comes to know and comprehend the women’s viewpoint on things. Gilman suggested the fact that women could…show more content…
Whereas in the existing patriarchal society women did not have occasion to express themselves and their desires, ambitions, problems, having to submit to the will of men, in Gilman’s utopia the situation is almost completely reversed. However, there is an element of difference that would not be present in a precisely upside-down reality: the men are not deprived of their voice. Despite being the minority in an entirely matriarchal world, they can express their own ideas and the Herlanders are very much interested in what they have to say, “We have been waiting you see, for you to be able to speak freely with us, and teach us about your country, and the rest of the world. You know so much, you see, and we know only our land” (74). The dialogical structure is present in whole Gilman’s novel and is proposed by Laura Donaldson as one of the main features of feminist utopian texts, opposed to the monological structure of masculinist utopianism. In this case, this element of non-hostility and interchange could be interpreted as an expression of Gilman’s own ideals. She did not regard herself as a “feminist” but as a “humanist” (Lane xx), and as a result, she supported a mutual exchange of opinions and ideas between men and…show more content…
He, indeed, is the one who most of all the men tries to get an insight into the Herlanders’ world, as his relationship with Ellador shows, and is therefore the one whose consciousness grows the most and the reader directly perceives it, “I found, after my ideas of what was essential had changed, that my feelings changed also” (147). His sociological perspective on the things allows him to welcome the new world and to avoid the extreme attitudes that his companions have. He does not strongly try to impose his masculinity as Terry does and does not completely idealize the new “femininity” as
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