Book Reviews

The Giant Wistaria by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

This analysis of “The Giant Wistaria” (1891) — a chilling ghost story by classic feminist author Charlotte Perkins Gilman was contributed by Jillian McKeown, excerpted from Feminist Short Stories: Horror & SCi-Fi (Part 1).

It’s shocking once you’ve finished “The Giant Wistaria” to realize that it was published in 1891, when it seems as if it were written not so long ago. The story takes place during two time periods, the 1700s and the 1800s. The former century begins with an English family and we’re dropped into the middle of the most scandalous of family dramas — their daughter has just given birth out of wedlock, and the parents are fleeing to England to escape any disgrace to their family name. Read More→

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A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor

This analysis of “A Good Man is Hard to Find” (a 1953 short story) by Flannery O’Connor, author of modern Southern gothic, was contributed by Jillian McKeown, excerpted from Feminist Short Stories: Horror & SCi-Fi (Part 1).

I knew very little about Flannery O’Connor when this collection of short stories was recommended to me.  I knew that O’Connor was Irish Catholic, and that the stories were written in the mid-20th century. 

Needless to say, as I finished the first story, which is also the namesake for my particular edition, I was completely taken aback. “The person who suggested that I read this should have warned me!” I thought. Like so many of the other stories in this article, it’s thrilling to read a gem so subversive that it still shocks nearly 70 years later. Read More→

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Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman: An Analysis

This analysis of Herland, the 1915 utopian novel by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is excerpted from an in-depth review on Exploring Feminisms.

Years ago, I bought Herland after reading The Awakening by Kate Chopin, craving that same satisfied woman-centered feeling that I was left with as I closed Chopin’s book.  As I read the first few pages of Gilman’s Utopian text about a land of only women, I noticed that it was from a man’s point of view and immediately lost interest. 

I had very little interest in a man’s perspective, even if it was written by a woman. Recently, Herland has been on my mind and decided to pick it up again. This time around, I decided to read the preface, which is what I hear adults do and was delighted to learn that it was satirical in nature. Within a first few pages, I was hooked and looking back, maybe at 21 I just wasn’t ready. Read More→

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