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    Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://ir.lib.ncu.edu.tw/handle/987654321/4393

    Title: Charlotte;Perkins Gilman’s Critique of Feminine Domesticity: The Yellow Wallpaper and Herland
    Authors: 李靜雯;Amie Parry
    Contributors: 英美語文學研究所
    Date: 2001-02-01
    Issue Date: 2009-09-22 09:18:24 (UTC+8)
    Publisher: 國立中央大學圖書館
    Abstract: This thesis aims to examine Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s critique of feminine domesticity in her autobiographical story The Yellow Wallpaper and utopian fiction Herland to delineate her radical feminist and socialist view of turn-of-the-twentieth-century America. My thesis begins from the survey of American feminist scholars’ criticism of the two texts over the last three decades to see how they establish Gilman’s works as feminist “cult texts.” By adopting Nancy Armstrong’s view of the formation of modern domesticating culture, I interrogate Gilman’s strategy of battle against the contractions of modern gender distinctions and the limitations of the middle-class womanhood. In Chapter One, I explore how Gilman represents an ambitious middle-class mother whose aggressive individualism subverts the gender hierarchy underpinning heterosexual monogyny. The narrator’s engagement with the imprisoned woman behind the wallpaper constitutes a form of “work” which has been forbidden undercuts her husband’s tyrannical control. However, although the narrator eventually poses a demonic threat to the household, her reductive interpretation of the wallpaper’s complexity and her fear of sex makes her unable to formulate an entire independent identity but reduces herself to be a creeping animal at the story’s end. In Chapter Two, I deal with Gilman’s discourse on motherhood and examine her vision of new heterosexuality in her depiction of Ellador and Van’s love in Herland. This chapter interrogates Gilman’s strategy of calling for legitimation of women’s unpaid domestic labor by creating a separate women’s space guided by essentially female values and concerns. I indicate that her discourse on motherhood is primarily premised on the cultural authority that modern industrial society has granted women. Therefore, the new female subject, the national space and new heterosexuality she reconfigures all underscore modern gender identity. At the same time, she enhances her ethics of liberation to a higher plane which is intolerant of difference and rejects sexual desires. Chapter Three brings out the imperialist/ racist problematic in Herland ignored by the second-wave feminists. I show how Gilman’s discourse participates in the imperialist rationale of turn-of-the-twentieth-century America as she attempts to creates a feminist nation in an Aryan settlement in the South, asserting that women can achieve full liberation associated with their cultural authority because the civilization of the nation requires women’s birth control and their skill of child-caring. My scrutiny of the two texts demonstrates that Gilman’s feminism is formulated upon the negation of sexuality and repression of the Other. In order to foreground the primacy of women’s economic autonomy, she constitutes a universalized gender value and makes white women as its embodiment. Such an dissociation of gender from its social and historical context, as Armstrong reminds us, not only fails to recognize whose interests that the normative behavior serve but also ends up unable to change its dyadic structure. The women’s liberation that her white virgin mothers carve out is merely an illusory identity created by their class and racial privilege.
    Appears in Collections:[英美語文研究所 ] 博碩士論文

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