With Her in Ourland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

““We have always had war,” Terry explained. … “It is human nature.”

“Human?” asked Ellador.

“Are some of the soldiers women?” she inquired.

“Women! Of course not! They are men; strong, brave men…”

“Then why do you call it ‘human nature?’ she persisted. “If it was human wouldn’t they both do it?”

“Do you call bearing children ‘human nature’? she asked him. “It’s woman nature,” he answered. “It’s her work.”

“Then why do you not call fighting ‘man nature’ — instead of human?””

3/5 stars.
ebook, 144 pages.
Read from September 19, 2019 to September 20, 2019.

Picking up where Herland left off, Ellador and Van set off around the world to show Ellador the rest of the world away from her homeland and all of her matriarchal values. Van decides to leave America for their last visit, his home, in hopes that she will see it more favourably. While Ellador adapts fairly well in many aspects of his society she is truly traumatized and cannot shake the horror of how women, animals, and children are generally treated. Ellador is the most disappointed that America had the chance to do things differently and didn’t.

Even though Ellador struggles, Van and Ellador grow deeper and more intimate in their relationship. Ellador does eventually want to attempt to bear children by Van but still doesn’t understand or have the urges for physical intimacy, which Van completely respects and understands.

This book steered away from a novel and narrative and read more like an essay or a rant of the author’s ideologies, similar to the first book in the trilogy, Moving the MountainWhile I enjoyed aspects of this novel, particularly how Ellador managed particular situations during some of her encounters with men, this book was generally unsurprising and concluded as I expected it to.

In terms of its ideological content, this book solidifies the author’s views and any remaining issues she has found with the patriarchal society while reaffirming previous values made in the other novels. If you’re interested in all of the author’s ideologies then I feel that reading the whole trilogy is important, however, if you’re looking for more of an interesting story, you could easily get away with just reading Herland. 

Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

“Only women there—and children,” Jeff urged excitedly. “But they look—why, this is a CIVILIZED country!” I protested. “There must be men.”

3/5 stars.
ebook, 176 pages.
Read from September 17, 2019 to September 19, 2019.

While it isn’t necessary to read Moving the Mountain before this book, I would still recommend it as it sets the basis for the author’s ideas.

Three male explorers, Terry, Vandyck, and Jeff stumble upon an all-female society. Not wanting to believe it at first, the three men are forced to reassess their views on women in their own society and the basis of some of their beliefs about women. This society of women is strong and educated and live harmoniously among themselves and are able to reproduce asexually. For these women, nothing is more revered than motherhood and the harmony of their society.

While Van and Jeff come to understand, learn and appreciate this all-female society and are humbled by its feats and the women within it, Terry, however, cannot get past his own insecurities and that fact that the women in this society don’t fall for his patriarchal charms. The men fall in love, Terry unsuccessfully with Alima, Jeff with Celis, and Van with Ellador. Terry can hardly wait to leave and continues to get frustrated that this society doesn’t meet his own values. Jeff and Celis choose to stay within the all-female society but Ellador wants to learn more about the world and convinces Jeff to take her and explore.  Despite Van making his best efforts to explain the rest of the male-led world, there are are still many aspects that Ellador finds are to accept.

There are many positive aspects in this novel and it was much more readable than Moving the Mountain, having read more like a piece of fiction with philosophical and politic aspects rather than just an essay with a loose storyline. I appreciate some of the views the author had on how to run a society, especially her views on animals and equality. However, being a mother is still the main aim and purpose for a woman in this novel. So for all the advanced ideas that Ms. Perkins had she still missed the mark on that one. I mean, she does admit that motherhood is not for everyone yet motherhood and children are practically the religion of this society of women. She also has a clear stance on abortion and the use of negative eugenics that I don’t particularly care for. This book, however, is still poignant at pointing out the faults within the patriarchal society that is still relevant today.

I enjoyed how Jeff and Van came to undo the preconceived notions about women and how they progressed to mutual respect, love, and admiration for the women in this society and how their relationships developed. While Jeff and Celis’ relationship was not as successful as Van and Ellador’s, Terry’s hostile reactions and mistreatment of Alima was predictable and showed how damaging some patriarchal beliefs are to men’s sense of self and entitlement. Overall, this is still an important and essential feminist read.

 

Night of the Hunter by R.A. Salvatore

“Is that not the whole point of gaining experience, to use it to make wiser choices, to temper destructive instincts, to find better resolutions?”

3/5 stars.
ebook, 410 pages.
Read from September 4, 2019 to September 11, 2019.

You know, I never thought I’d make this far into the series. I really should slow down the rate I’m reading this series as I know I’ll mourn not being able to fall back onto these new adventures when I need to escape reality. Though it has probably been more than a decade since I read the first book so at least I can look forward to re-reading it.

After a miraculous rejoining, The Companions must return to Gauntlgrym to help their old friend Pwent escape the curse of his vampirism. Bruenor is also convinced that he erred in his previous life and that making a truce with the orcs was a big mistake. Everyone else seems to agree too, though Drizzt only reluctantly because there isn’t much that he wouldn’t for his friends. Artemis and Dahlia have also found themselves wrapped up in Gauntlgrym too unfortunately so have the major houses of the dark elves. The dark elves are plotting something big as they scheme over Gauntlgrym and of course, themselves, in order to please and understand their chaotic goddess, Lloth.

I have to say, I am surprised that Bruenor is going to go after the orcs again and that everyone seems to be on board with the idea. It just doesn’t seem like something these wholesome characters would do but maybe they’re right, that the orcs are just biding their time to attack…regardless, Salvatore is going to have to do a lot more to convince me that this isn’t out of character for the companions and that it’s a smart decision going forward in the next few books. I also have to say, I really enjoy this laidback version of Wulfgar as he has shed all the burdens and seriousness of his past life he finally has a chance to live his best life in this one.

I did enjoy that a good portion of this book focuses on some of the big houses in the dark elf realm as it made for an especially gruesome and exciting read because the creatures of the Underdark are always nightmarish to envision. I’m interested to see what direction the plot takes next and hope that there are few twists and turns with the anticipation of Bruneor eventually returning to Mithral Hall. Overall, another solid Salvatore read.