I was not acquainted with the author, Charlotte Perkins Stetson Gilman, before I read this chapter. I discovered that she had definite ideas about the superiority of women, and argued that humans had the sex roles backward. She pointed out that in other species, the females’ superior sense of judgment, and the males’ eagerness to please, caused a far more successful social structure. She applied these principles in this work of fiction.
As I prepared to read this chapter, the voices of two characters from the movie The Marrying Man came to mind: Charley/Alec Baldwin as Terry, and Phil/Paul Reiser as Van. Both stories are about a few guys who enjoy hanging out together, and their challenging relationships with the women who attract them.
As I prepared to record this chapter, reading this book transported me back to when I was in college. I remembered the place on the library shelf where I found the Ayn Rand books. I sprawled on the clean thin-carpeted floor pondering the ideas in the quiet. The sun shone brightly through the glass wall at the end of the aisle, near where Ayn’s books lined up. Ayn inspired me to think about fairness, justice, and the roles of government and taxation.
Ayn Rand’s world of Socialism was very different from what I valued about my experience of Democratic Socialism. I had a strong community where everyone had a valued perspective and a vote on every matter. We shared a sense of Oneness. But this book is Chilling. This story sets me on edge: uniformity, dictatorship, regimentation…
I cherish the compassion, creativity, self expression… that my community fostered when I was growing up, and which I continue to foster in myself and others.
Read the entire book at Project Gutenberg.
LIsten to all the work that I’ve done for LibriVox.
This is a LibriVox recording. All LibriVox recordings are in the public domain. For more information, or to volunteer, please visit LIbriVox.org.
One of my blog’s followers (Patti of Wednesdays child) asked me to record this chapter and share it here. I recall that this title was a popular book, movie and TV show, but I wasn’t familiar with the story and characters at all. Patti said that her Mom gave it to her when she was a girl, and told her that she HAD to read it because Anne was just like her. She recalls that it was “the very first book that made me cry.” Since then, she read children’s stories for her local CBC radio station for about 10 years as a volunteer for a local literacy group. An excerpt from Anne of Green Gables was her first reading for them.
Thank you Patti for introducing me to this book. I had a great time becoming acquainted with Mrs. Rachel and Marilla.
I noticed that Mrs. Rachel symbolically and literally puts herself in the sunshine, while Marilla screens herself from it. Mrs. Rachel looks about to see what her neighbors are up to. She expresses her opinion, and spreads any news; while Marilla is reclusive, perhaps as a screen against feeling overwhelmingly influenced by others. However, both women are described as being excellent housekeepers, attentive to their environments, indoors and out, so they both apparently have ample light to see what’s important to them.
I thought that the author was harshly judging the main character of this story for her selfish thoughtlessness, but then I started to see that there is a tone of compassion for people who give of themselves so selflessly that they become deliriously starved for self nurturance.
Read by Grace Buchanan · A Pair of Silk Stockings by Kate Chopin
This short story was originally published in an 1897 issue of Vogue Magazine, and was then included in the author’s book, “The Awakening, and Selected Short Stories“. I like how the author’s voice trips along from one scene to another.
Please be careful as you tend to the needs of others, especially during this pandemic, to make sure that you are tending to your own creature needs. Please keep in touch with your sense of comfort, peace, and wellness.
Read the entire book “The Awakening and Selected Short Stories” at Project Gutenberg.