Ohreum how utility is valued in Herland. However,

Ohreum KwonEWRT 2John Kee Sooja07 December 2017Final Essay Draft In Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, the author encourages the audience to confront irrational characteristics that are present in our society today by comparing them to rational characteristics displayed in feminist society. Gilman wants her readers to realize  She attacks the current traditions concerning the environment and farming, population, education, gender roles and relationships so that the reader will come to challenge traditions in favor of rationality. In Herland Gilman pushes for a more rational treatment of the environment and farming techniques by showing how the Herlanders control the population and grow food with consideration to the limited amount of land available. Herlanders have long since abandoned farm animals for favor of “fruit- or nut-bearing trees”(42). They have even gotten rid of non-fruiting trees in favor for fruiting trees because of their uselessness to the system. This shows the how utility is valued in Herland. However, in the outside world the useful is not always valued over useless because of traditions. There would be no problem if the traditions are kept because of their usefulness, but most of these traditions are kept just because they are traditions of the society that has been around for a very long time. For example, cattle and other farm animals are still kept even when it would be rational to grow food that feeds more people and takes up less land and material. But people in the outside world are selfish and irrational so they do not see that, by getting rid of the traditional ideas, there would be less people who struggle because of starvation or it might even become a solution for world hunger. Another method that Herlanders use to prevent starvation is by population control. Terry, Jeff and Van, the three male characters, are confused by these women when they explain to them about population control. Population control would be the best course for everyone, but in their society the idea of itl would be an unacceptable concept especially for those who are in position of authority. This method would significantly decrease the number of citizens who struggle with poverty and starvation and also it would allow more equal and fair distribution of resources to everyone. It is interesting how there are difference in their reactions to population control because Terry, being in one of those authorities, refuses to accept that fact that there is a problem with the outside world because he is the one who benefits from other people’s poverty. However, Jeff and Van are more open to the idea of population control so they feel ashamed how ignorant they were about the obvious problem just because it wasn’t directly affecting them. The education at Herland is also more rational than the one from the outside world. The differences between them are that theadults at Herland do not suppress their children about their energetic behaviors and the children are not forced to study or pursue a career which they are not interested in. The freedom of education for children at Herland shows that they are more rational than the one from outside world. The outside society forces all the children to go to school and learn the same things for all of them even though every one of them are unique and different from one another. This makes the kids “sick and tired of being educated”(21) and they are not allowed to chase after subjects and careers that they love. On the other hand, Herlanders created games for children to be engaged in all the activities that are educational for all children. These rational way of education is highly unlikely to be used in schools because of they stick to the traditional ways whether they work or not. The Herlanders are open to new methods because their standards for everything is rationality. Gilman also challenges the current gender roles by showing how environment is the caused the differences in the genders. The women of Herland astound the three men because they are unlike the women back at home. The three men first believe that women are naturally the weaker sex and that their place in society is caused by nature taking its course, but their experiences in Herland contradict this belief and it forces Van to come to see women as equals and that it is society that is the cause of the inequality. Women in herland are educated and physically fit. When the men first meet Alima, Elador and Celis, the girls easily outrun them due to their physically training. The men “gave chase”(10) after the girls because they definitely thought that they could catch up to them, but they give up in the end and assumes that the men in Herland “must be great sprinters”. Gilman uses this to show that the physical differences in the sexes in due to the women of the outside world not being allowed to cultivate their physical abilities. The woman are also shown to be very well educated. The men are caught off guard by the women’s knowledge of a wide range of topics. In their society it is believed that women are not as intelligent as men, but Gilman shows them that if women were equally educated the gap in intelligence would disappear. The women of herland are shown as powerful, intelligent and rational. The men almost do not feel that these women are female because they lack the feminine traits of their women. They are far from attracted from these masculine woman and instead prefer the young, playful girls. Giman points out this thermophilic behavior and forces the reader to confront their attraction to girls over woman. Though the women that the they first meet are far from the women of the outside world the men are not attracted to their abilities only to their girl-like qualities. Why value the useless qualities over the exceptionally ones? Gilman wants to show the reader that woman should be found attractive for valuable qualities and not the useless ones. What is valuable in marrying a girl who is far from able compared to an educated woman?  The men also dislike the lack of femininity in the woman’s dress and haircuts. This is even after they see the practicality and comfort of wearing reasonable clothing. Gilman point out here the irrationality of the current days clothing especially women’s clothing. Why should clothing be uncomfortable or impractical? Gilman shows her ideal relationship through Van. Both Terry and Jeff are supposed to show the faults in inequality in relationships. Vans relationship is shown to be the strongest because he values Elador as a person and an equal. However, Terry sees Alima as an object to be owned and as so his lesser. Jeff is the opposite extreme. He sees Celis as his better and he worships her. Both of these are irrational stances because Alima is just as physically powerful and even more intelligent than Terry, ma ny due to his refusal to give up his hatred of women. Though she does fall into the trap of the perfect woman and because of this Jeff is not shown nearly as flawed as he should be. This issue is caused with the women of Herland being flawless. If Celis would have been shown more as a human she probably would have become frustrated with Jeff’s worship. This is because by worshiping Celis instead of seeing her as his equal he is not treating her as human. Also in the (insert scene with Jeff taking basket from celis) this could be seen as insulting to an independent strong woman because she is completely capable of carrying it by herself. When Gilman was writing Herland it was more than just a call for gender equality but for the end of irrational traditions. Gilman uses Herland to show how current traditions are holding society back due to their out-dated nature. This is why current gender roles, clothing and other societal norms should be based on rationality. Everything should be suited to its purpose and aestheticism should never come before utility.


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