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A Reader's Response to Gilman's If I Were A Man in Gilman's Short Story - Essay Example

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Name Instructor Class April 28, 2012 The Animosities of Being a Man: A Reader’s Response to Gilman’s “If I Were a Man” In Gilman’s short story, “If I Were a Man,” she explores a man’s world from the perspective of a woman who seems to have mysteriously possessed her husband’s body…
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A Reader's Response to Gilman's If I Were A Man in Gilman's Short Story

Download file to see previous pages... However, she also feels the animosities of men against women. She tries to defend women’s abilities and sensibilities. Most especially, in the ending, Mollie questions how religion attacks women. I can relate to Mollie’s feelings as man, where she awakens to the possibilities of being a human being who has rights and responsibilities. “If I Were a Man” is about a woman who understands the beauty of being a man. I have not exactly experienced what Mollie felt, because in my family, women are respected as equals of men. Nevertheless, I know women who are treated as chattel. It is the modern times, but some men can be so Neanderthal when it comes to their women. I know men like Gerald, who treat their wives shabbily, because they are women per se. In my experience, some women like Mollie have turned into men, because their men have been debilitated by disease or accidents. As a result, they have to be the breadwinners of their family. I understand how Mollie feels, because I have also heard about women’s experiences in being figuratively a man and how they felt happier and stronger. As men, these women begin to understand the frivolities of women. Chrissie, a relative of ours, used to love buying the latest fashionable attire, but when her husband becomes paralyzed, because of an accident, she works three jobs to make ends meet. Talking with her no longer revolves around fashion, but around practical matters. Mollie sees hats as silly as a man does: “And all that money just for hats--idiotic, useless, ugly things!” (Gilman). Chrissie also finds fashion as fleeting and unessential to a woman’s essence. She also cuts her hair, which makes her manlier too, and yet in a vital sense, it has freed her. Chrissie says: “I cut my hair and I feel and think like a man. I feel so free to do everything I want.” She states that she understand now that a woman’s place should never be in a home only, unless their husbands value their contribution and never make them worry about financial conditions. She is a classic example of a woman who has changed her perspective about being a woman. More importantly, these women-turned-man feel tired from each day’s work, but less stressed; in short, they are happier because of the freedoms they have. “Talking” is a motif in the story. As people came and “talked” to Gerald, it stands for the political and social empowerment of men. Men can easily interact with other men and talk about political and social issues anytime. They have a “voice” in society. Marie, a woman whose husband died because of lung cancer, also feels the same way. She says that before, she does not care about social and political affairs, but now she does. She says: “As a taxpayer, I deserve to know where my money goes.” I realize how being a woman can limit their participation in the public space. Furthermore, Mollie reveals man’s economic power and its role in their self-confidence: “…she felt what she had never felt before in all her life--the possession of money, of her own earned money…hers” (Gilman). This statement underscores how a woman feels to have money of her own. She does not have to beg, tease, or wheedle to have money given to them by their husbands. Bills suddenly do not have to be something to be stressed of, but something that can be rid of through hard work and perseverance. These women are stronger, because they have acquired a man’ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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