"It had all become a natural condition" California's Garden Movement, Land Eugenics, and Naturalization in Charlotte Perkins Gilman's Herland Paul Formisano California contains a vast meanness and a measure of infinite promise, and between these two opposed forces lies a faultline capable of generating cataclysmic stories, poems, art. --Louis Owens In her utopian classic Herland (1915) Charlotte Perkins Gilman chronicles the adventures of three men--Terry O. Nicholson, Jeff Margrave, and Vandyck Jennings--as they attempt to explore a land forgotten by time and the tribe of women who inhabit this remote location. Flying over the region they will dub Herland, Van explains that the area "appeared to be well forested about the edges, but in the interior there were wide plains, and everywhere parklike meadows and open places" (12). Losing altitude to gain a better view, the men find "a land in a state of perfect cultivation, where even forests looked as if they were cared for; a land that looked like an enormous park, only it was even more evidently an enormous garden" (13). Gilman's depiction of Herland as a garden is not surprising considering the feminist agenda this novel manifests. Writing during an age where the "separate
Western American Literature – The Western Literature Association
Published: Jul 3, 2016
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