If I Were a Man by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Topics: Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Woman, Thought, Mind, Gender / Pages: 3 (641 words) / Published: Oct 24th, 2008
In Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story “If I Were a Man” she successfully shows the subconscious thinking of a young woman who wishes with her heart and soul she would become a man. The story is based on a young woman named Mollie Mathewson, who ends up becoming her husband due to her wishes to be a man. She then goes throughout the day as her husband, Gerald. “She was Gerald, walking down the path so erect and square-shouldered, in a hurry for his morning train, as usual, and, it must be confessed, in something of a temper” (Gilman 50). Gilman successfully brings this story to life by taking a third-person limited omniscient point of view, which allows us to see inside her innermost thoughts.
Mollie Mathewson longs to be a man, because at this time men have all the power and pride women don’t. She is envious of all the things men can have. “She felt what she had never felt before in all her life-the possession of money, of her own earned money-hers to give or to withhold, not to beg for, tease for, wheedle for-hers” (Gilman 51). For the first time in her life she gets to see what its like to have money that she does not have to share with anyone else. Men get to make the money while women stay home and take care of things around the house. Mollie now gets to experience life outside the house, and she also gets to feel what it’s like to not have to report to anyone. She is her own person now.

During her day as Gerald she begins to take on his thoughts. She begins to think about women’s fashion and business sense. She particularly starts to dislike women’s hats. “With the eyes of a man and the brain of a man; with the memory of a whole lifetime of free action wherein the hat, close-fitting on cropped hair, had been no handicap; now she perceived the hats of women” (Gilman 52). It’s interesting the way Mollie is taking on her husband’s thoughts. The reader would never think Mollie would think of women’s hats this way. The reader would

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