Two Exceptional Women
Axia College of University of Phoenix
LIT 210 World Literature
June 29, 2008
This paper discusses the similarities between two exceptional women authors, Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Amy Tan. Both Perkins and Tan use their gifts to compose stories that reflect their personal history and speak to women everywhere across generational and cultural boundaries.
Although she is famous for her short story The Yellow Wallpaper, Gilman was also a prolific novelist, poet, lecturer, and journalist. She has been a major influence on countless women past and present. (Knight, 2001) Gilman not only rose above the poverty and insignificance into which she was born and emerged as an internationally recognized activist on behalf of women but she left behind an extraordinary body of work. Her writings consist of three romances, seven novels, seven nonfiction books, some 200 short stories, approximately 500 poems, a handful of plays, hundreds of essays and articles, and an autobiography. (Knight, 2006)
Charlotte Perkins Gilman was born in 1860 in Hartford, Connecticut. Gilman was the great niece of the 19th century writer Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of Uncle Tom's Cabin. After the death of two of her siblings, her mother was told not to have any more children. Consequently, Gilman's father soon abandoned the family. In spite of her hard childhood, she attended college, but dropped out and married artist Charles Walter Stetson. In 1885, the couple had a daughter together. Gilman soon developed neurasthenia, an emotional disorder consisting of exhaustion and depression. The famous doctor Silas Mitchell's ineffective prescription of a "rest cure" in 1887 inspired Gilman to write The Yellow Wallpaper, a disturbing tale of a woman's growing psychosis and feminist perception. Gilman divorced her controlling husband and earned her living thereafter by writing. Her book “Woman and Economics” (1898) turned out to be an...