• poetryunheard

Charlotte Anne Perkins Gillman

Our fifth poet of the week is the phenomenal Charlotte, she is well known for her short story 'The Yellow Wallpaper'. This was written in response to the 'rest cure' she was prescribed after the birth of the child becouse she was suffering from post-partum depression.


She also wrote poetry on the subject of Women's suffrage. She Had relationships with both men and women and was credited as one of the first American feminists.


This is what the artist discovered:

Charlotte Perkins Gilman was a Victorian author, poet, and nationalist from Hartford, Connecticut. Gilman’s family was very influential, and I believe this greatly inspired her to better humanity. She was especially concerned with women’s independence in every sense of the word. Gilman refused to conform, and her rebellion came in many methods: refusing to wear constrictive clothes fashioned for women, earning money as a commercial artist instead of staying at home, and falling in love with another young woman: Martha Luther. Unfortunately, Gilman lost her way after Luther left her for a man, and soon followed the same path. After the birth of her first daughter she sank into post-partum depression, and following the advice of ‘specialists’, succumbed to a nervous breakdown. But she still had her rebellious spirit. Gilman parted from her husband, moved to California, and began writing some of her best work. Although described as an average writer, her spirit leaked onto her pages,and her first, fictional book: ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’, is described as captivating. Following the journey of a woman’s descent into madness (some scenarios very similar to her own) we see a story strongly critiquing and bringing attention to Victorian America’s patriarchal system. Something Gilman was dedicated to changing. Sometime later she went against social constructs again and gave her, now ex, husband custody of her daughter which gave her time to write her next controversial tale: ‘The Unnatural Mother’; her first non-fiction book: ‘Women and Economics’ and her most significant fictional book: ‘Herland’. Gilman took on a life of travelling and did many talks regarding the importance of improving the economic status, and family life for women. Although eventually marrying her first-cousin George Horton Gilman, she never settled and continued to write, edit, design and produce her own monthly publication: The Forerunner’ where she was free to speak her mind. Regrettably, her beliefs that native-born white people were superior to other groups tarnished her reputation in the end, but the progress she made of bringing equality to women, her publications and the countless feminists she inspired throughout her whole life, cannot be overlooked.


Artwork by Jasmine Williams

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