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.