Charlotte Perkins Gilman

2188 words, 9 pages

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Charlotte Perkins Gilman
1860-1935

Charlotte Anna Perkins was born on July 3rd of 1860 in Hartford, Connecticut to Frederick Beecher Perkins and Mary Wescott Perkins. After her parents separated and later divorced in 1873, she was forced to live a nomadic childhood with no father. She was a bright girl and had learned how to read by the age of five. She attended the Rhode Island School of Design from 1878 to 1879 and was particularly fascinated with literature and the art of the day.
She longed to be an independent woman and to be solely dedicated to her work. When she fell in love with an artist by the name of Charles Walter Stetson, she found it hard to choose between love and her duty to become an economically and politically... View More »

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To her dismay, Gilman’s beloved husband died in May of 1934 from a cerebral hemorrhage. Shortly after, she found out that she had breast cancer. Rather than suffering for a long period of time, after finishing her autobiography, she planned to end her life at her own will. It was possibly her final public statement of her independence and right to make her own choices as a woman. Charlotte Perkins Gilman took her own life on Saturday August 17, 1935.
Some critics have said Charlotte proclaimed her feminist and socialist beliefs through her short stories, while others have acknowledged the works as realistic and persuading. Many have said that Charlotte provided answers for women’s everyday problems. Like most authors, Charlotte Perkins Gilman was not fully appreciated during her lifetime, but her work was cherished during the revival of feminism in the 1960s. Her call for reform seemed to predict the later troubles for women and echoed even louder years after her death. “Carrie Chapman Catt had ranked her first among twelve prominent American women, crediting her books “with utterly revolutionizing the attitude of mind in the entire country, indeed of other countries, as to woman’s place” (Scharnhorst, 118).
Although she initially denounced the word “feminism,” Gilman despised the roles women were expected to take. When she allowed herself to accept these roles in her early years, she was stricken with “hysteria.” She seemed to relive her life through all of her work. They all seemed to “silhouette [her] frame of mind during her first year of freedom,” which was the ...

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